How to help people make introductions for you

Excerpted from Introductions and the “forward intro email” by Roy Bahat:

If you ask me to introduce you to someone, I’ll sometimes say: “Please write me an email I can forward to them.” You’d be shocked how often I get back something unusable. Here’s what I mean when I ask for a forward intro email. A good forward intro email:

1. Says why you want to be introduced.

2. Includes its own context — enough about you or your startup so that the receiver understands what’s being asked. Always helpful if it includes what’s special about your startup, increases the likelihood the person will want to meet you. Attach a file if you think it makes sense (a deck, longer summary, screenshot).

3. Uses only as many words as you need — the receiver is going to glance at the email, and decide whether to talk to you. A recap of other things we talked about when we met distracts.

4. Sounds like you — I really have zero preference about whether you’re formal or loose, so emoticon away.**

5. Starts a fresh chain, with a fitting subject line, for each introduction — if you write a forward intro email as a reply to a long string between us that costs me time. Subject lines like “Forward intro email for Karin” also cost me time to fix.

(1) Roy is a VC, and he’s probably writing about making business introductions for his portfolio companies. But his advice is equally valuable for other types of introduction, such as introducing someone looking for a job to a potential employer.
(2) The key insight: think about what the email looks like to the person it’s forwarded to, not the person doing the forwarding.

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