Throughout my career (thus far), I’ve been asked for introductions and I’ve also asked to be introduced to others.
So, I’ve seen and made my fair share of mistakes when it comes to taking that introduction and doing something with it.
Here I outline the most audacious and amazing things I’ve seen, as well as some sample scripts for you to try on for size.
And if you haven’t yet read my article about how to ask for an introduction, read it here.
Faux Pas 1: Taking weeks to follow up on the introduction. Also, following up on the introduction immediately.
People are generally busy, but letting an intro go cold after YOU were the one who asked for it is a no-no. I was definitely guilty of this a couple of times in my early days running my business. Lesson learned- when you’re feeling underwater or unsure, take stock before putting tons of feelers out that you can’t possibly make time or headspace for. The same goes for following up in a nanosecond after the intro is made. There’s a nuanced difference between being eager and too eager.
So what’s a good rule of thumb then? I generally tell clients who are networking to change careers or jobs that 2-4 days is a good amount of time.
Faux Pas 2: Suggesting to the person to meet that day. Or offering a billion times to meet. Or stretching the options for meeting into the next 4 weeks.
Yes, I’ve seen this happen. I introduced a new grad to a contact of mine, and she emailed asking to meet for coffee in a not-convenient-to-my-contact place that afternoon. No. Just….no.
Instead offer a variety of times starting the next business week. If it’s a Monday, you could throw in a Friday option, too (especially since many companies/businesses are a little more open on those days). Don’t overwhelm with a ton of times- three is generally a good rule of thumb and mix it up- maybe a coffee meeting, a lunch meeting or a right-after-work meeting since you don’t know how that person’s schedule is. A face-to-face meeting is best, so you can also add, “I’d love to meet close to your office in person. If that’s not possible, we can absolutely do a phone call at your convenience.” (Don’t say ‘earliest convenience’!)
Faux Pas 3: Not thinking of what you bring to the table.
Yes, you may be more junior to the person you’re meeting. Or you may have less experience. Actually, you probably do, which is why you wanted the intro in the first place! But never go to a meeting not thinking about what you could offer the other person. Even if there’s no clear answer prior to the meeting, it’s key to go in with the intention of being open and with a listening mindset so you can be on the alert for ways you can help. And maybe it’s not immediately, so I’m not saying to force-help someone. Go in with the mindset of a mutually beneficial relationship.
Faux Pas 4: Not researching your new contact ahead of time.
I’m not saying to know her favorite ice cream flavor or anything, but definitely take a look at her LinkedIn profile. And sometimes people put their interests outside of work (hobbies, volunteer work, etc) on there, so maybe there’s a non-work common thread you can bring up. Leave Facebook out of it.
These are just a few of the mistakes I’ve seen made or made myself. There are certainly others, so if you have a question, leave it in the comments below or get in touch!