Have you ever been asked by a friend or colleague to be introduced to another friend or colleague? I have, and it’s an honor to connect great people with each other!
I always wrestled with how to do it…until I received one from my friend and mentor, Lou Solomon. She was introducing me to the the lovely and talented Andi Stevenson, a woman who has since become a dear friend (and inspiration to countless folks as a Ted X Charlotte presenter extraordinaire).
Prior to this virtual introduction, most of the ones I received were emails that included words such as “I’ve copied Amber on this as a means of introduction,” “Amber – feel free to connect with her at your earliest convenience,” or even the dreaded “Amber’s number is included on the attached electronic business card.” While technically meeting the definition of virtual introduction, those emails were not exactly meaningful nor memorable.
So, how can you make an introduction via email that inspires both heads and hearts? Here’s how:
A Recipe for Virtual Introductions
- Start with Heart. The first line of Lou’s introductory email to both Andi and me was, It was both inspiring and flattering (and had me checking over my shoulder to see if she was really talking about someone behind me)! I was humbled, touched, and excited to meet someone whom I would soon learn was a cross between a Texas-born Robin Hood and Grace Kelly. In other words, amazing. Lou nailed it.
- Admire Away. As Lou says, “We are never more attractive than when we’re expressing admiration for another.” In the email introduction to Andi, Lou didn’t just tell me Andi’s job title, she used words like “talented,” “spunky,” and “fiercely gracious” to describe her. And in describing me to Andi in that same email, she used some similarly powerful (and flattering, I might add) adjectives. How could I not want to meet Andi after that? And how could I not admire Lou for her kindness? There was a whole lot of coolness between the two of them that I hoped, as my very southern grandmother would say, was “catching.”
- Connect on Common Ground. As it turns out, both Andi and I earned our Master’s degrees from the same business school, and Lou was quick to point that out in her email to us both. It was helpful going into our first in-person meeting to know that we could discuss waaaay more interesting topics than the weather (that universal, but much too predictable “in common” subject). Before long, we were trading memories of grad school professors and class projects like old friends.
- Finish Faithfully. Invite the introducees to take it from there. And hold on to the faith that they will pay it back (and forward!) when the time is right.
Facilitated by Lou’s email introduction, my first coffee date with Andi felt more like hanging out with an old friend than meeting a woman who moments before had been a stranger to me. Lou’s email connected more than just two people – it started by connecting head and heart through a virtual introduction that was meaningful, memorable, and heck, even magical. And I have it to thank for a longstanding trusted colleague, and even more importantly, a friend.