For centuries, humans connected and grew in tribes.

Then the agricultural revolution happened.

Collaboration expanded beyond the immediate tribe.

We could meet other people through trade. At local gatherings. Through family acquaintances. But still, only in person.

Fast forward to the early 1980s.

Humans will assemble the “network of networks” which will become our modern internet.

The internet will broaden our scope. And help us connect with people outside our immediate environment. But this time, not only in person.


How email (and introductions) became great

Alas, we had the email. We can not only connect instantly, we can communicate instantly too.

This promise of connection and communication will impact our networks.

We could add value to our network by making key introductions.

Judy Robinett, author of How to Be a Power Connector was right. Because “nearly everyone needs more and better information, connection and introductions.”

And email provided the access that we could otherwise not get outside their network.

The connection economy was on the rise.

The economy whose “value isn’t created by filling a slot” but “created by connection”, as Seth Godin puts it.

“By the combinations created by people. By the magic that comes from diversity of opinion, background and motivation. Connection leads to ideas, to solutions, to breakthroughs.”


How email (and introductions) became less great

But the blessing of email will soon become an overwhelm.

Even a curse.

Especially a curse.

We got way too much of it.

People we know will make demands through emails. Our bosses.

People we didn’t know will take advantage of unassuming folks through emails too. Con marketers.

A war started.

It was the war for peace in our inbox. A war that we still fight today.

Inbox zero. Inbox detox. Inbox fast. And so on. This is how some described the elusive victory.

Win or lose, this made our emails less thoughtful.

The promise of connection gave up to sloppiness. Email introductions became a dread.

Like making email introductions to people you barely know (but think you know) and placing the burden on them to connect with strangers. With no context or reason for making the connection.

At best, email introductions will bear unhelpful reasons like: “both of you are millennials”. Or “both of you are entrepreneurs”. Who cares?

In the process, email introductions lost the “why” and “how” that made it so great. Here’s how to make them great again.


3 Ways to Make Email Introductions Great Again


1) Connect the right people with the right value

Before you introduce two people in your network, understand if there is value there at all. What’s the purpose of the introduction?

I was once introduced to a business coach who tried hard on selling me on a mastermind program on our first call. No value to me.

It’s important to identify if the two contacts can help each. And if so, how? You might know this from your recent chat with them. Or something they shared on social media.

Example: one of your friends talks to you about her tax problems. And you recently connect and build a relationship with a tax expert.

It might be worth considering if these two people might be able to add value to each other.


2) Always get permission

Get permission to introduce someone. And get permission from the other person receiving the introduction.

It deepens your credibility in your network. It’s a sign of maturity and respect for the other person’s time.

But even more, getting permission helps prevent the awkward position. That awkward position where people feel compelled to connect, even when they see no value.

Only go ahead if you get a “Yes” from both parties. Because people get swamped with work.

And no matter how well-meaning one might be, email introductions could appear as a nuisance when the timing isn’t right.

So instead of sending one bland email introduction, send two. The first is to ask for permission. And if the person says it’s okay to introduce, you then send the second email.

Here’s how your permission email can look like:

Hi {{First Name}}, I was just thinking of you when I spoke with my friend {{ABC}}. He’s helped another friend with {{relevant problem}} and I thought it’ll be great if the two of you get together. He might have some ideas for {{value add}}.

Is it okay if I make an intro? If it’s not a good time, that’s totally okay.

Let me know.


{{Your Name}}


3) Diffuse the time and connection burden

Even if they agree to the introduction, your role as a connector is to ease the burden of connection.


In that final intro email, state the names of the persons you’re introducing. Mention what they do and why the introduction is being made.

These two people you’re introducing should be able to connect at their own convenience. Connecting now, may not be their priority.

Here’s an example:

Hi David, meet Amy. Amy is the Director of Einstein Music School. Amy, meet David. Like I mentioned to you, David is the CEO of the Opera Winners School downtown.

The reason I’m making this introduction is that both of you have expressed interest in collaborating with other schools for your upcoming anniversary.

I thought it might be worth it for both of you to connect whenever it’s convenient.




Now, go ahead and make your email introductions great again!