How to Set Up a LinkedIn Introduction
LinkedIn lets you introduce colleagues or people with whom you have done business. On LinkedIn, you should do your best to make sure the Introduction process goes smoothly, but don’t worry, there’s not nearly as much social pressure.
Normally, when you want to bring two (or more) parties together, you usually need to apply some thought to the process, whether it’s figuring out what both parties have in common, thinking up the words you’ll use to introduce party A to party B, or coming up with the timing of exactly when and where you plan to make the Introduction.
When you want to send an Introduction request, spend some time planning your request before you log on to LinkedIn to generate and send it. Preparing a quality and proper Introduction goes a long way toward keeping your network in a helpful and enthusiastic mood, and it increases your chances of making a new and valuable connection.
You need to prepare two messages: one for your intended recipient and one for your connection/friend. Each message needs to perform a specific objective. Start with the message to your friend and keep the following tips in mind when you’re writing it:
Be honest and upfront: Say exactly what you hope to achieve so there are no surprises. If you tell your friend that you’re hoping her contact will be a new bowling buddy for you, but when you reach that contact, you ask for funding for your new business plan, you’re in trouble.
Your friend will probably never forward another request again, and the contact, who expected one type of interaction and got another, will see you as untrustworthy and be unlikely and/or unwilling to help on this request or any in the future.
Be polite and courteous: Remember, you’re asking your friend to vouch for you or back you up when your request goes to the intended party. So be polite when making your request and show your gratitude regardless of the outcome.
Be ready to give in order to get: One of the best ways to go far with your network is to offer some sort of reciprocal favor when you want someone to do a favor for you. Perhaps you can introduce your friend to one of your other contacts in exchange for your friend accepting your Introduction request.
Be patient: Although you might be eager and under a deadline, your friends probably operate on different schedules driven by different levels of urgency.
When writing your message to your intended recipient, keep these tips in mind:
Be honest and upfront: Just like with your friend, when you have a specific goal or request in mind, make it known in the message. The recipient is most likely busy and doesn’t know you, so if he spends the time to talk to you and finds out that you have an ulterior motive, he feels like his time was wasted and that he was deceived, which are not good feelings to create when trying to get help from someone.
Be succinct: You’re asking someone for his time, resources, or advice, so don’t beat around the bush too much. You should introduce yourself in your first sentence or two. Then you should explain why you’re contacting the recipient and how you hope he can help you.
Be original: If you stick to the sample text that LinkedIn gives you, your message has an air of Hey, I want to talk to you, but I don’t have a few seconds to really tell you what I’m after. When you customize your message, you have a greater chance of capturing the other person’s attention. If your intended recipient gets a lot of requests, you’ll stand out if you show some effort to rise above the daily noise this person encounters.
Be ready to give in order to get: You’re asking for help of some sort, so be ready to give something, whether it’s gratitude, a reciprocal favor, or something more tangible.