Leveraging Our Network: Introductions Etiquette

Making the effort to connect people whose relationship may be mutually beneficial is a habit of all great networkers.  The introductions you make add value for all players—you build your own value to your colleagues and connections, and simultaneously demonstrate positive regard for members of your network.   Making introductions is like corporate match-making.  When we meet a person who appears to have parallel interests with someone else in our network – we can determine if each is interested in the connection, then make the introduction.  Our effort compliments both people, regardless of the outcome.        

One important note: when a colleague makes an introduction on your behalf, do acknowledge that compliment by following up with an update.  I only learned how meaningful that update is when I didn’t receive one.

I’d met an accomplished executive when I added her to my engagement team.  She had a deep background as a subject matter expert in a specific field.  As I got to know her, I realized how important being selected for additional engagements was to her financially. With her permission, I introduced her to two former colleagues of mine—one who owns her own firm and often has work she outsources, and the other a highly sought-after consultant who is often in the position to refer subject matter experts.

Both my colleagues thanking me for the introduction but, to date, I haven’t received any feedback about subsequent calls that took place.  Being in that position really drove home how important it is for me to complete the communication circle with the person who introduces me to a new contact.  I think of it as good networking manners, and as an investment in the future of my relationships.

There may come a day when we need to contact that person (or someone in our network) to make or receive an introduction.  Be ready to ask for support by following introductions etiquette. Establish yourself as someone who makes and receives introductions, expresses gratitude when we’re introduced, and acknowledges our colleague’s effort with an update. You’ll be increasing the odds you’ll receive the support you request.

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Published by Leah Ward-Lee

Leah Ward-Lee, the author of "$1,000 Start-Ups", is a serial micro-entrepreneur. She opened her first business at ten after lobbying for and receiving a shoe shine kit for Christmas. She pulled her wagon through the neighborhood, going door-to-door, offering to shine her neighbor’s shoes for twenty-five cents a pair. Once her wagon was full, she took the shoes home and polished them. Unfortunately that business was short-lived. She hadn’t tagged the shoes and couldn’t remember whose shoes were whose, so her dad went with her to retrace the route until every pair was returned. Since then she’s had businesses developing and teaching college courses, instructing aerobic classes, owning half a plane that was rented to a flight and maintenance school, and renting homes. She’s also owned a consignment store, a gift shop, a gift basket business, a consulting firm, hosted The Executive Toolbox (a weekly radio show), and a publishing company. She also spent twenty years in the US Army, served as the Chief Information and Technical Officer for two major insurance companies, and has a second career as a management consultant. Leah resides in Dallas, TX and on Amelia Island with Sammy and Goliath, her two rescue dogs.


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