The Connection Power of Introductions

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The Connection Power of Introductions

One of the universal fears of salespeople is making a cold call. Why? Because it’s scary not to know anything about the potential client. What if they won’t take the call? What if they are abrupt? What if they are unkind or rude?

Expand those concerns to the interactions the rest of us (not in sales) make on a daily basis. When we make a first contact with someone we don’t know, most of us would pay top dollar for inside information.

  • Who do they know that we know?
  • What are their interests?
  • Are they the decision maker?
  • What is their personality?
  • How will they like us?

The digital world alleviates some of the dread of connecting with people we don’t know. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram let us instantly interact. Even in spite of the privacy issues, literally billions of users are drawn to the virtual connections they can make on these platforms.

And in business, LinkedIn has become a powerful means for building professional relationships. At the time of its founding 18 ½ years ago, LinkedIn had an initial 4,500 members; today there are 774 million registered users worldwide.

Our need to connect — and be connected — is insatiable.

Introduce me, Please!

Far better than social media to meet is the old-fashioned way of being introduced.

As an example, when I first learned about The Three Tomatoes, I was so impressed with the news and entertainment content, the contributors of stories, and the eye-catching graphics — all with a perfect pitch for an adult female demographic.

I wanted to meet founder Cheryl Benton! But how?

My very first thought was to be introduced. So I began the journey of figuring out who I knew (even remotely) that knew her. After a few weeks of sleuthing, I found two points of connection – an author friend who was willing to vouch for me, and a speaker acquaintance who confirmed that Cheryl was a supportive and accessible connector. That’s how the door was opened for me to meet Cheryl.  the door for a new friendship to be born. And here I am!

Wrong way, right way

One of my goals as a connector is to pave the way for those I know to meet others in my circle. Every time I make an introduction to connect people,  it’s like watching the ripples of a stone thrown in a lake widen and expand.

I have introduced work professionals, social friends, and even romantic partners to each other. It doesn’t always create matches made in heaven. But more times than not, I am delighted at how quickly new friendships are formed and the web of relationship building deepens.

But there is a wrong and a right way to make an introduction.

The wrong way:

  • Not taking time to assess what the two parties have in common
  • Not giving a complete and complimentary introduction of each to the other
  • Not following up with both people to make sure they got in touch

The right way:

  • Identify at least two reasons why you want the parties to know each other
  • When you introduce them – in person, by text, or in an email — list those two reasons (e.g. you both are art historians, you live near each other, etc.). And — this is very important –describe what you admire about each party to the other. That way they enter the relationship knowing how much you value each of them. That affirmation helps launch the new relationship.
  • Communicate until you are satisfied that the parties have made an initial contact.

 If you offer, deliver!

About two months ago, a friend suggested that the work I do would be a perfect fit for a podcast host she knows. I was excited and immediately requested an introduction. My friend hemmed and hawed for a bit and then said she would contact the podcaster to see if she was interested in meeting me.

I waited for several weeks and then gave a gentle reminder to my friend. No response. I tried again, and she said she had forgotten but would do it soon. Another month passed and no progress. You know the rest of the story. I followed up three times and still haven’t made the contact because my friend didn’t follow through with the introduction.

The lesson here is that if you offer to make an introduction, deliver. It will benefit not only the people you introduce, but you too. Write to me at Ann@AnnLouden.com and tell me about the great connections you’ve made by being introduced.

 

Author

  • A seasoned executive in the nonprofit world, Ann Louden is the founder and CEO of Ann Louden Strategy and Consulting. Recognized for her expertise in fund raising, high profile special events, and campaign planning, Ann provides counsel to chief executives, staff, and volunteer leadership. Ann’s primary interest areas are education, health care for women and children, the arts, and adoption. As a cancer survivor, she led and was the twelve-year spokesperson for a breast cancer advocacy initiative that engaged thousands of survivors, volunteers and medical providers. With a mantra of bringing big ideas to life, Ann focuses on identifying a compelling vision and creating a goals-oriented plan for execution. An in-demand national speaker for the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, Ann is the recipient of the Steuben Excellence in Teaching Award and has been named as a CASE Laureate. She is the author of the upcoming book: From Social Courage to Connection: Lessons from Leaders Who Change and Save Lives. You can find her at www.AnnLouden.com.

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