20 tips for making better introductions, connections & referrals

Nothing makes the world go ’round in the business and networking worlds like a quality introduction or connection. And the Queen Mother of Generosity in this realm is the well-thought-out referral.  When done well and thoughtfully, everyone wins. The people/parties connected benefit from each other. The person doing the connecting looks like a hero. And the world becomes a better, more synchronistic place.

But when connections are made with haste, things can go haywire. Businesspeople introducing outside of office, shaking hand, smiling.

You don’t want this to happen to you, right? That’s why I’m offering you some basic Do’s for being the person who connects with grace and thoughtfulness. These are extracted and adapted from the pages of my award-winning book The Intentional Networker. Here we go…

Let’s say you believe Jonathan and Becky would benefit from knowing each other – or could possibly do business together. Here’s what you do:

  1. Let both parties know you’d like to make the introduction.
  2. See how they react.
  3. Realize timing can be everything; sometimes people are just too swamped to give a connection the appropriate time and attention.
  4. Or they’re just not interested. It’s okay.
  5. If you believe both parties are interested and can benefit, by all means proceed.
  6. You might pen a Virtual Introduction email where you copy both parties.
  7. Or find a convenient opportunity when you can introduce them in person.
  8. Offer some basic information about each person.
  9. State why you believe these two should know each other and how they would both benefit.
  10. Don’t make people guess – or go “huh??”
  11. Give them the option and the “out”: If they believe the connection is worth their time, suggest they take next steps, such as a phone conversation, coffee, lunch – whatever works for them.
  12. No pressure ever. And don’t oversell.
  13. Thank all parties involved for their time and consideration.
  14. Encourage them to give you honest feedback.
  15. Realize that perfection is impossible; sometimes people just don’t click.
  16. Encourage both parties to do their own due diligence and decide if the connection is a good one.
  17. Stand back, cross your fingers, and see what happens.
  18. Perhaps follow up in a few weeks.
  19. If things work out, hurray!
  20. If nothing comes of it, you know you did your level best.

What other gracious steps would you offer to up the quality of your connections, introductions, and referrals?

What’s worked for you as a connector or connectee?

What drives you bananas when people connect you to someone or vice versa?
What?! You don’t have a copy of The Intentional Networker. Readers are calling it THE handbook for being more purposeful, polished, present, and productive as you build your visibility and reputation and connect with others in the world.

“…an easy to follow, positive life-strategy book for anybody who needs to deal with people, from the business executive to the freelance consultant to a teacher or a parent on a PTA board.” – Maya Fleishmann, reviewer for IndieReader

Need a gift idea? These books make excellent, affordable, practical gifts for new graduates, job hunters, career changers, and anyone going through a move or transition. And, yes, I offer bulk discounts. Just get in touch with me.

Find out how to get your copies here.



6 Responses to 20 tips for making better introductions, connections & referrals
  1. Pete Monfre
    May 12, 2015 | 11:40 am

    Great article Patti!

    I make quite a few email introductions and, after a little detail about each person and why they should meet I end with the following:

    “I’m making this introduction because I believe that good people should know other good people. There are no expectations attached – just the hope that this connection brings mutual benefits to all involved. Good luck.”

    • pattid
      May 12, 2015 | 4:33 pm

      A terrific addition to the formula, Pete! Thanks for reading and commenting.

  2. Julie Tereshchuk
    May 12, 2015 | 5:08 pm

    I love what you said, Patti, and adore the bonus gracious words from Pete. I hope he will take it as a compliment if I repurpose his words in the future–with attribution, of course.

    My virtual introductions often end with a note along the lines of: “I will now step out of the conversation and allow you two to connect. However, please don’t hesitate to let me know if I can provide any additional contact information, or help in any other way”

    • pattid
      May 13, 2015 | 8:15 am

      Hi Julie! Another terrific piece of gracious wording! Thank you!

  3. Bridgette Beinecke
    May 26, 2015 | 1:53 am

    Patti, Just today I was describing this way of introducing people virtually. My friend is a medical doctor who came to Austin to study alternative medicine and acupuncture. She is originally from Mexico and lived in Washington D.C.for many years.
    Have you considered having your book translated into Spanish?
    You and I first met via Nancy O. and I have recently said my farewells to her as she moves to Arizona. I purchased your book when you presented a talk at Seton Cove.
    Thank you for your great ideas.

    • pattid
      June 2, 2015 | 4:13 pm

      Bridgette, thanks so much for reading — and for the comment. Doing virtual introductions (or any introduction) – complete with some context – is a great idea and helps people see our thought process on why it’s a good match.

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