Zacs Guide To Introductions And Etiquette

There’s a good chance you’re reading this because I sent it to you. If I sent it to you, there’s a good chance you just asked me to introduce you to someone.


I’m thrilled to make an introduction for you, but they aren’t free. I don’t mean you have to pay me. It’s just that many people don’t realize intros cost the introducer something.

Every time someone introduces two other people, they put a little bit of their reputation on the line. They spend some social capital. If the introduction goes well, it pays off! But if something gets bungled, it makes me look bad.

Introduction etiquette, while it might not seem like a big deal, is not an innate human skill. That’s why I’m sending you this quick guide to establish expectations.

What I will do if you ask me for an introduction:

  • Reach out to anyone I think would be helpful to you, or a specific person if you have one, and ask them for permission to introduce the two of you.
  • Write a two-part introduction email. In the first part, I will address them and be talking about you. In the second part, I will be addressing you and talking about them. The purpose of the first part is to sell you a little bit, pique their interest, and provide some context in the email thread. The purpose of the second part is to transition the conversation to you and give you a natural jumping-off point.

What you should do:

  • Give me enough information that I can make a compelling introduction. If you want to make this easy for me (hint: you do, because then I’ll want to help you out more in the future), write me an email I can forward to them. You can write two separate emails - one casual one saying “hey I want to talk to this person about the project I’m working on,” and then send me a separate, more formal, email I can forward with all the context they’d need to know.
  • After I send the intro, it is YOUR job to respond first, not theirs. Respond to the intro chain within 24 hours. The sooner the better. I hopefully got them excited about talking to you… act excited to talk to them!
  • Move me to BCC in that response. I want to know you responded, but I don’t need to stay on the chain.
  • If you’re asking for a meeting, propose 2 or 3 times in your first response, then say something like “if none of these times work, let me know when does.” That makes it very easy for the recipient to glance at their calendar and say yes, and can shortcut a lot of scheduling tennis.
  • Once you agree on a time, send a calendar invite (unless they did). I like to include both names in the calendar event title (example: Samantha and Zac get lunch). If you’re meeting in person, be sure to include the location and address, your phone number in case something goes wrong, and a brief description of what you want to talk about in the description (to jog their memory in case they forget).
  • Circle back with me after the meeting and let me know how it went. I intro’d you two because I care about you both… so make me feel good about connecting you two!
  • If they don’t respond back, follow up after 3 or 4 business days. I already checked with them and they said they want to talk to you, so don’t be shy.

If you do all these things, it will make both of us look good. Happy introducting!

Written on January 1, 2015