How to: Make introductions and connect people

Every once a while, we find an opportunity to make an introduction and connect people. Someone we know (person 1) wants to talk to someone we’ve worked with or know personally (person 2). If done well, the offer to make a connection is an act of generosity and is a wonderful way to build a network.

But, this can also go wrong. The most common way this goes wrong is when person 2 isn’t interested in the connection or is far too busy to deal with a new, unexpected, introduction.

There is one simple principle that helps resolve this potential issue – always ask for permission. It doesn’t matter how well you know the people involved – it is always in your interest to ask for permission. Let’s play out the scenarios –

  • You know person 2 really well and they would be thrilled to help you. Asking for permission makes them feel even more respected and cared for.
  • You don’t know person 2 all that well, haven’t stayed in touch and don’t know what is going on in their lives at the current moment. Asking for permission ensures that you are taking their feelings into consideration and not thrusting an obligation on them.

This is important to keep in mind even if you are the person asking for an introduction. It is in your interest to request the person who has offered to introduce you to ask for permission first. Else, your conversation isn’t set up for success.

The best introductions are win-win-win introductions where each person walks out feeling positive. And, asking for permission to make an introduction helps ensure that happens more often than not.