Part 1 highlighted the pitfall of making the wrong kind of introduction. Part 2 will list out 4 considerations in making an introduction within your network.
Discussing introductions may or may not strike you as an important topic within the process of building and maintaining your personal brand. Early on I think I would have agreed completely. However, I have learned over time the power behind good introductions. This is an area that I encourage both students and business leaders to learn how to excel in.
Introductions, when handled appropriately, can play a significant role in building and establishing your brand value. Each time you are able to successfully connect two people, and that connection either turns into new business or a strong professional relationship, your brand value starts to grow.
Below is a list of 4 considerations before making any introduction.
Considerations before making an introduction
• What is the intended final outcome
o for you
o for those you are introducing
• How will this enhance or maintain your value to your connection
• Do you fully understand why both parties should meet
• Making introductions based on perceived value add for you is misguided
Ok, let’s go through the 4 considerations listed above.
What Is The Intended Final Outcome For You & For Those You Are Introducing
This is probably the most critical point to most successful introductions. Before you offer to make any introduction, it is best to have figured this out.
The intended outcome is not always the actual outcome, but many times that is beyond your control. However, if you have taken time to know both of the parties you are bringing together, then you should have an idea on how both will connect.
Recently, you met Bob who has a passion for helping others find financial freedom from debt. Bob is an accountant by trade, and has seen the devastation bad financial planning can cause. Bob just moved to town and has not really found a place to plug in. After learning this about Bob, you recall that your friend, Susan, has a similar passion of teaching financial literacy to low-income families.
At this point you really do not necessarily know the full outcome of what introducing Bob to Susan will be. And not knowing is ok. However, the intended outcome of introducing Bob to Susan is that in sharing a common passion, perhaps Susan might lead Bob to an opportunity to put his passion to work locally. Also, for all you know, this could lead Bob into meeting a whole new segment of people that will become part of his new social network in his new city.
How Will This Enhance Or Maintain Your Value To Your Connection
One way to measure value between connections is in the fact that interaction takes place. Without interaction there is nothing. When you engage with your connections your assumption is that they will engage in return.
Before I make any introduction, one thing I consider is what my connection will say to me afterwards. Will Susan appreciate that I introduced her to Bob? Will Susan find that my introduction had value for her?
Using the analogy of the piggy bank, every time you facilitate a good introduction, money is deposited into the piggy bank. However, every time you make an ill thought out introduction, money is withdrawn. Hopefully, you get my point by now.
Do you Fully Understand Why Both Parties Should Meet
Answering why is a very important factor. It really falls before anything else, but is not as critical. If you are new to the method of introducing people, then this is actually very important.
Not really understanding why you are introducing people turns your introductions into a commodity. Any one can introduce anyone, but introducing with intention is more of an art.
Some times I will actually make an introduction simply based on a gut feeling about two people. However, I do not suggest this for the novice. Being able to successfully pull off a gut introduction is difficult. This type of introduction is its own topic, so I will leave it alone for now.
Making Introductions Based On Perceived Value Add For You Is Misguided
Ideally introductions should bring value to all parties involved. The two people being introduced should recognize the most value. Once this is determined then the follow-on question is will the introduction bring value for you with either or both of the people you are connecting.
Do not necessarily hold back or deny an introduction based on this. It if perfectly okay to assess how something might build a stronger connection for you or play out in your favor down the road; however, if you make a decision solely based on what’s in it for you, then you will begin to lose sight of the bigger picture here.
Most new introductions do not fully show their future value early on. As long as the introduction makes sense, do not get too caught up in figuring out the final outcome- so long as the final outcome is positive.
In this two-part series I first highlighted the pitfalls of those who introduce at will with no really understanding of what they are doing. I am sure there are many different motivators, some that I might never understand. I think one of the more common motivators stems from the need to feel valued and find acceptance. While these are not bad motivators, do not let them direct or guide your judgment here.
The four considerations listed above are a good guide to helping you determine if and when to make introductions. Right now it might seem that I am turning this into a complicated process. However, over time each of these considerations will become second nature. You’ll get to where you assess situations on the fly. In the meantime, they are well worth some attention.
Until our paths cross again,