Networking isn't about collecting business cards it's about building relationships. [click to tweet] One way to do that is to make introductions between two people who may benefit from knowing each other.

Before making an email introduction stop to consider whether the connection will be beneficial for both parties. If not, than it's probably best not to make the introduction because your aim should be that both parties are happy you introduced them. If you are unsure whether the more senior person would be open to the introduction it is best to email them privately to ask. Busy people stay productive because they know how to say no, so don't be surprised if that is their response. Give them a gracious way to decline.

Now that you're clear that an introduction is a good idea take the time to write a thoughtful introduction email.

Subject line: E-intro Bob Jones and Marie Vantos Include both names in the subject line to increase the chances of the email being opened.

Tip: Add their company names to the subject line if at least one has a recognizable company name.

In the first paragraph: Bob, I want to introduce you to Marie Vantos. Follow this with a sentence about who Marie is, how you met and/or how well you know each other. Marie, meet Bob Jones.  Follow this with a sentence about who Bob is, how you met and/or how well you know each other. 

Tip: Always include last names. This will help both parties save the connection in their contact list.

Second paragraph: In one or two sentences share how the introduction occurred to you. This is a nice touch as it gives both parties context right away about why you thought they should meet.

Tip: Have they already met? Mention that so both parties are reminded and no one is embarrassed for forgetting a brief prior introduction.

Third paragraph: Write a complimentary (but not inaccurate) sentence about each party. Share their strengths and accomplishments. Include a link to each person's website, blog, or LinkedIn profile.  When done well this section makes it clear why they should connect and makes the idea enticing.

Tip: End this paragraph with an explicit statement:  This is why I think the two of you need to meet…

Fourth paragraph: How should they connect? Be specific. Should they meet over coffee? Schedule lunch? Connect over the phone? Being specific will help them move to the next step.

Tip: Mention where they each live so time zone differences may be factored in when scheduling.

Final paragraph: Let me know when you two connect.

Tip: If you are the one being introduced, make sure you close the loop with the person who made the introduction so they know what happened.

Before you hit send: Be sure you're not accidentally forwarding an email chain that will be embarrassing to either party. Either delete the prior thread or edit it.

Tip: If either party has an assistant who handles their schedule, include them on this email.

In a future blog post I'll share etiquette tips for requesting and responding to email introductions. Have specific questions? Add them to the comments below.

In the Comments
Have you had success with asking for email introductions? Have you heard success stories from people you've introduced?