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How not to suck at introductions


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  • Thanks for sharing these helpful tips. “introduction etiquette” ... nice :)
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  • 1. How to not suck at intros By We help founders.
  • 2. Ask for time before you tell people what’s going on.Hey, we’re a new company Hi, I’d really value yourresearching HR staffing advice about how designersissues for our upcoming manage clients for a portfolioproduct -- who is the right product I’m working on.person in your organisation Could I buy you a coffee infor us to be talking to? the next few weeks?
  • 3. Don’t write too much.Keep it to 5 sentences. Make in easy to read & answer in 2 minutes or less.
  • 4. Ask for something specific.An email needs a clear ask or it’s getting put in the “I’ll think about that later” pile. Busy people never look at that pile.
  • 5. Only ask for one thing.If you have multiple points or callsto action, you’ll get the easiest one answered and the rest ignored.
  • 6. Nobody owes you.Don’t make a big ask in your first email contact. Don’t give people work to do, or stuff to read.
  • 7. AttachmentsFirst contacts don’t need financial projections and a board deck.Adding a little bit of extra info to an intro can be handy, but keep it to themore “casual” stuff (e.g. a short intro deck.)Don’t expect anyone to open your attachments -- just throw them in thereto save the curious a request.
  • 8. Subject linesUse the subject line to help themquickly understand what you want.Intro: Harry meet SallyAsk: Intro meeting to learn aboutyour video content.Update: Progress this month onProject X.Reminder: Please send me the draftspec you mentioned.
  • 9. How toaccept anintroductionIf someone introduces you to a potentiallead, jump on it immediately with a quick“Hey, great to meet you, we do X andneed Y.”
  • 10. How to makean introductionHey James, meet Lydia -- she does cooland relevant thing XYZ.Hey Lydia, James runs JQR and isgenerally wonderful.I wanted to put you two in touch becauseABC.All the best,
  • 11. It’s okay to nudge.Nudge people every 2-6 weeks. We all lose email. It’s fine.
  • 12. Make an email icebox.When folks politely reject you (e.g. “Keep me in theloop!”), add them to your icebox list,Send the icebox a brief email update about once amonth with the main progress that they would careabout (e.g. new products for clients, tractionprogress for investors.)
  • 13. Phone callsSorry, nobody wants to just “have a call” withyou. Tell them what you want to talk about.Sometimes a call is the best tool, but if youmake someone have a call on something youcould have dealt with over email, you’ll beconsidered a time-waster.
  • 14. Research callsFrame the ask around the customers context.Hi Mr Chen,I’m developing a product that helpsrecruiters manage their email. We’re in earlystages, and would really appreciate 30minutes to help understand your workflowand needs. Is there a good time to speak inthe next few weeks?
  • 15. Get permission wheninterrupting.If you’re calling, IMing or Skyping inunscheduled, say what you need in asentence, and ask for permission to continue.“Hi, I was hoping to grab you for 5-10 minutesto ask a few questions about the project planyou shared with me. Is now good?”If it’s a bad time, ask when’s a good time.
  • 16. Proposing MeetingsPropose a couple time ranges in the short-term, plus an emptyday/week further in the future.Propose to go to their office, or to meet them at a convenientcoffee shop -- if you’re asking for the meeting, you’re travelling.Tell them how long it’s going to be, and one or two agendapoints if they exist.Everyone hates to “catch-up” with complete strangers.
  • 17. Running lateIf you’re going to be late, let themknow immediately, and give themyour updated ETA.
  • 18. Running longAs soon as you think the meeting might run overthe allotted time, ask for permission or options.“We’re not going to getthrough topics X, Y & Zin the next 20 minutes.Can we run 15 minuteslonger, or is thereanother time we couldtalk about Z?
  • 19. Check out our stuff.We’re Founder-Centric. We helpfounders.