How To Introduce People: Two Rules For Better Networking

How To Introduce People

Whether you’re a seasoned networker or you’re just starting out trying to meet people in your industry, you’ve probably found that proper introductions are a power part of your overall networking strategy. While many people think networking is more about meeting strangers at cocktail parties or networking mixers, research shows that much more value is created both for you and for the community by focusing on connecting individuals inside the network. Making new friends is good, but connecting friends of friends is better.

But introductions need to be made properly.

Intro-bombing people by randomly showing up in their email inbox with a list of new people to talk to isn’t only inappropriate, but it will likely reduce the amount of social capital you’ve build with that person and that community. To make sure your introductions are always well-received and always build value, here are two simple rules to follow:

  1. Every introduction is also a recommendation

It may not feel like it, but any time you’re introducing two people to each other you are recommending them to each other. You are claiming that this new person will be a valuable new connection to both people involved. So, make sure it is exactly that before you start. Likewise, if there is a difference in status or power between the two people, make sure you’re aware that you are spending some of your social capital to make the introduction, and don’t make it unless you know there will be a return on that investment.

  • Practice double opt-in introductions

You wouldn’t show up unannounced at the door of someone’s home with a total stranger and say, “I just wanted you to show him your house and have you meet him.” Likewise, it’s not only rude but also ineffective to hand out someone’s personal information (like email or phone number) without giving them the chance to “opt-in.” (Full Disclosure: I learned this the hard way.) To make sure both parties will find the connection valuable, check with both parties first. When you offer the introduction to Person A, make sure you state that you will check with Person B first and proceed with the introduction accordingly. Then, once both parties know the reason for connecting and agree to it, you will have a much easier time making the connection and they have a much easier time getting right to the point.

These aren’t the only two rules for introductions, but they speak to the mistakes people so often make. If you don’t know that you’re really recommending someone, and if you’re just blindly appearing in their inboxes, text messages, or door frames with new people to meet, you’re probably not getting the return on effort you expected.

But follow these two rules and you’ll create tremendous value for others, and for yourself.

This article originally appeared as an episode of the DailyBurk, which you can follow on YouTubeFacebook, LinkedIn,or Instagram.

Thanks for reading. You can get more actionable ideas in my popular email newsletter. Each week, I share educational (and entertaining) videos, articles, and podcasts that will help you and your team do your best work ever. Over 40,000 leaders just like you have subscribed. Enter your email now and join us.


About the author

David Burkus is an organizational psychologist, keynote speaker, and bestselling author of five books on leadership and teamwork.

2 thoughts on “How To Introduce People: Two Rules For Better Networking”

  1. Hi David,
    You make two really important points that go to the heart of genuine network development. Respect for one’s own social capital is vital, and respecting others’ privacy is too.
    As ever, I wish you well in your work and look forward to the next exciting episode…
    Best wishes, H

Comments are closed.

Recommended Reading

The Secret To Giving Feedback

A large part of doing your best work ever involves getting feedback on your performance. Feedback is how you know where to improve and where to build upon your strengths. Giving feedback is a requirement for unlocking greater performance, both individually and in teams. But many leaders struggle to give feedback. Sometimes this is because […]

Path-Goal Theory

What Is The Path-Goal Theory Of Leadership? Path-Goal theory is half leadership, half motivational theory. It was developed to explain how leaders motivate their followers toward a determined end. It is derived from expectancy theory, which argued that employees will be motivated if they believe that a) putting in more effort will yield better job performance, b) better […]

Why Theory?

During WWII, Allied bomber losses were high, so high that the British Air Ministry undertook a rigorous analysis in hopes of finding a solution. Their engineers set out to eyeball every bomber they could, gathering data on each bullet hole. After analyzing the results, engineers decided to reinforce the areas that had the highest concentrations of holes […]

Scroll to Top