Tips on Making an Online Introduction

Guest Post by Ashley Baxter

Virtual introductions are extremely common. Gone are the days of waiting for a big event to have an opportunity to introduce yourself to a possible client, future business partner, or other professional connection. You can instantly be introduced to others through email or any variety of social networking website.

When introducing yourself virtually, you should always answer the following three questions:

- Who are you?
- Why are you contacting them?
- What do you need?

Your virtual introduction is the same opportunity you would have in person to make a good first impression. Unfortunately, many people feel that the laid-back culture of the web means you can throw together any random combination of words and consider yourself introduced. That is far from the truth.

Whether you are reaching out to a co-worker you have never met, or trying to connect to a stranger, you need to give your words thought. Here are a few pointers on making a good virtual first impression.

Who are you?
Sounds redundant, but you’d be shocked how many people fail to give this information in virtual introductions. Just because someone works at the same company as you, has a similar professional circle, or follows you on Twitter does not mean they know who you are. To assume they do can come across as arrogant. Before you jump into the heart of things, say hello then tell them your name and title.

Why are you contacting them?
You might need to relay information to them for a big project. Possibly, you are wondering if they could connect you to a new lead for your business. You might even just admire their professional work and want to connect for that reason. If you don’t tell them why you are contacting them, they won’t know. Instead of reading your message and thinking “I’m glad “your name here” reached out”, they’ll think “why is “your name here”bothering me”.

What do you need?
Never leave a virtual introduction open ended. Always state the action item you sought in making the introduction. If you need something from the person, like information or assistance, you should ask for it. Don’t be rude or demanding. Do it with a soft and genuine tone. They’ve taken the time to read your message, but you can’t expect them to read your mind.

Do you answer all three questions when you introduce yourself to someone virtually?

Comments

  1. Chris Wechner says

    Hi, Bill. I really like this Guest Blog post by Ashley. Even though it’s basic, it does a good job of helping people cross that bridge from common sense of “understanding” into a form that allows that to actually implement it.

    I posted this several places within LinkedIn.

  2. Ashley Baxter says

    Thanks Chris. I think the points I listed are things people know they should do, but might be tempted to bypass because the communication is happening online. Hopefully it will help some remember that online introductions should be treated with the same respect as an in-person introduction.