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How to not suck at intros


  By www.foundercentric.com. We help founders.
Ask for time before you tell
        people what’s going on.
Hey, we’re a new company      Hi, I’d really value your
researching HR staffing        advice about how designers
issues for our upcoming       manage clients for a portfolio
product -- who is the right   product I’m working on.
person in your organisation   Could I buy you a coffee in
for us to be talking to?      the next few weeks?
Don’t write too much.
Keep it to 5 sentences. Make in easy to read & answer in 2 minutes or less.
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.
Only ask for
    one thing.
If you have multiple points or calls
to action, you’ll get the easiest one
   answered and the rest ignored.
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.
Attachments
First 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 the
more “casual” stuff (e.g. a short intro deck.)
Don’t expect anyone to open your attachments -- just throw them in there
to save the curious a request.
Subject lines
Use the subject line to help them
quickly understand what you want.
Intro: Harry meet Sally
Ask: Intro meeting to learn about
your video content.
Update: Progress this month on
Project X.
Reminder: Please send me the draft
spec you mentioned.
How to
accept an
introduction
If someone introduces you to a potential
lead, jump on it immediately with a quick
“Hey, great to meet you, we do X and
need Y.”
How to make
an introduction
Hey James, meet Lydia -- she does cool
and relevant thing XYZ.
Hey Lydia, James runs JQR and is
generally wonderful.
I wanted to put you two in touch because
ABC.
All the best,
It’s okay to nudge.
Nudge people every 2-6 weeks. We all lose email. It’s fine.
Make an email icebox.
When folks politely reject you (e.g. “Keep me in the
loop!”), add them to your icebox list,

Send the icebox a brief email update about once a
month with the main progress that they would care
about (e.g. new products for clients, traction
progress for investors.)
Phone calls
Sorry, nobody wants to just “have a call” with
you. Tell them what you want to talk about.

Sometimes a call is the best tool, but if you
make someone have a call on something you
could have dealt with over email, you’ll be
considered a time-waster.
Research calls
Frame the ask around the customers context.


Hi Mr Chen,
I’m developing a product that helps
recruiters manage their email. We’re in early
stages, and would really appreciate 30
minutes to help understand your workflow
and needs. Is there a good time to speak in
the next few weeks?
Get permission when
interrupting.
If you’re calling, IMing or Skyping in
unscheduled, say what you need in a
sentence, and ask for permission to continue.
“Hi, I was hoping to grab you for 5-10 minutes
to ask a few questions about the project plan
you shared with me. Is now good?”
If it’s a bad time, ask when’s a good time.
Proposing Meetings
Propose a couple time ranges in the short-term, plus an empty
day/week further in the future.
Propose to go to their office, or to meet them at a convenient
coffee shop -- if you’re asking for the meeting, you’re travelling.
Tell them how long it’s going to be, and one or two agenda
points if they exist.
Everyone hates to “catch-up” with complete strangers.
Running late
If you’re going to be late, let them
know immediately, and give them
your updated ETA.
Running long
As soon as you think the meeting might run over
the allotted time, ask for permission or options.

“We’re not going to get
through topics X, Y & Z
in the next 20 minutes.
Can we run 15 minutes
longer, or is there
another time we could
talk about Z?
Check out our stuff.
We’re Founder-Centric. We help
founders. www.foundercentric.com

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How not to suck at introductions

  • 1. How to not suck at intros By www.foundercentric.com. 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 your researching HR staffing advice about how designers issues for our upcoming manage clients for a portfolio product -- who is the right product I’m working on. person in your organisation Could I buy you a coffee in for 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 calls to 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. Attachments First 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 the more “casual” stuff (e.g. a short intro deck.) Don’t expect anyone to open your attachments -- just throw them in there to save the curious a request.
  • 8. Subject lines Use the subject line to help them quickly understand what you want. Intro: Harry meet Sally Ask: Intro meeting to learn about your video content. Update: Progress this month on Project X. Reminder: Please send me the draft spec you mentioned.
  • 9. How to accept an introduction If someone introduces you to a potential lead, jump on it immediately with a quick “Hey, great to meet you, we do X and need Y.”
  • 10. How to make an introduction Hey James, meet Lydia -- she does cool and relevant thing XYZ. Hey Lydia, James runs JQR and is generally wonderful. I wanted to put you two in touch because ABC. 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 the loop!”), add them to your icebox list, Send the icebox a brief email update about once a month with the main progress that they would care about (e.g. new products for clients, traction progress for investors.)
  • 13. Phone calls Sorry, nobody wants to just “have a call” with you. Tell them what you want to talk about. Sometimes a call is the best tool, but if you make someone have a call on something you could have dealt with over email, you’ll be considered a time-waster.
  • 14. Research calls Frame the ask around the customers context. Hi Mr Chen, I’m developing a product that helps recruiters manage their email. We’re in early stages, and would really appreciate 30 minutes to help understand your workflow and needs. Is there a good time to speak in the next few weeks?
  • 15. Get permission when interrupting. If you’re calling, IMing or Skyping in unscheduled, say what you need in a sentence, and ask for permission to continue. “Hi, I was hoping to grab you for 5-10 minutes to ask a few questions about the project plan you shared with me. Is now good?” If it’s a bad time, ask when’s a good time.
  • 16. Proposing Meetings Propose a couple time ranges in the short-term, plus an empty day/week further in the future. Propose to go to their office, or to meet them at a convenient coffee shop -- if you’re asking for the meeting, you’re travelling. Tell them how long it’s going to be, and one or two agenda points if they exist. Everyone hates to “catch-up” with complete strangers.
  • 17. Running late If you’re going to be late, let them know immediately, and give them your updated ETA.
  • 18. Running long As soon as you think the meeting might run over the allotted time, ask for permission or options. “We’re not going to get through topics X, Y & Z in the next 20 minutes. Can we run 15 minutes longer, or is there another time we could talk about Z?
  • 19. Check out our stuff. We’re Founder-Centric. We help founders. www.foundercentric.com