I spend a lot of time making and responding to e-mail introductions. A lot. Therefore, I consider myself something of an expert when it comes to e-mail introduction etiquette. Here is how I handle intros.
If I am making an intro…
First, I reach out to the person that I am making an intro to and ask permission to connect them with someone else. If I get a yes, I connect the two parties.
I follow the same structure for most e-mails, but explicitly for intros, I do the following.
In the subject line, I put both of their names – Smith/Jones Four Athens Introduction.
Because each party is aware of the intro (and why it’s being made), there is little reason to have a long e-mail detailing the backgrounds of both parties. A simple connection with a prompt to connect should suffice. I typically mentioned high-level why the two parties should connect. The e-mail should be no longer than 3 sentences.
If I am responding to an intro…
Since I make a lot of introductions, this is a particularly sensitive topic for me. When responding to an introduction, take the person that made the introduction OFF the e-mail chain. You should always acknowledge the intro, but I do not want to be on a 15 email chain where the two parties attempt to work out a meeting.
To handle this, simply bcc the person that made the intro, thank them and then they will fall off the chain when the next e-mail is sent. It’s a simple solution that acknowledges receipt of the intro while removing the person.
Similar to an intro e-mail, there is no need to give your background in book form in an initial e-mail. Set up a time to meet and talk in person.
As with all e-mails, introductions should be short, simple and efficient. For the sake of in-boxes everywhere, please evaluate who’s inbox you are filling up and for what purpose.