They may be called a Connector, Network Connector, Connection Maker, Relationship Builder, and even Super Networker. Regardless of their (official or unofficial) titles, these professionals make it part of their professional missions to be helpful to others by facilitating connections. On the list of helpful things to receive from your professional colleagues, classmates, mentors, (and others you are connected to on LinkedIn), where would you place introductions? Done well (and that’s really the key), introductions of professional contacts can be a great gift with lasting impact benefitting both the connector and those who receive the gift of an introduction.
"I Know Someone You Should Know"
Making meaningful introductions is considered to be not only one of the best ways to expand and enrich your own personal and professional networks, but also a very thoughtful and generous gift that shows that you have great respect for both parties.
Before you dive into and start introducing and connecting people, think about these key insights into what it means to be a connector and what it takes to be a successful (and truly helpful) one.
- Endorsement: The fact that you are going out of your way to introduce someone means that you respect and can vouch for both of them based on your own experience working with them.
- Reputation: Your introductions can only be meaningful if you have built trust and positive reputation among your professional contacts. Otherwise they won’t find your recommendations helpful.
- Genuine Interest: You may be making an introduction at the request of a colleague, or due to a specific opportunity such as a job opening, or simply out of your desire to be helpful. Whatever the reason, why you care matters, and the people you introduce should feel that you are genuinely interested and believe that your recommendation will be of value to them.
The Golden Rule
Before you send your e-introduction or recommend a contact, think about the context of your introduction, and make sure that you’re confident that the it is the kind of contact recommendation YOU would appreciate receiving. If you got a note from a colleague recommending a professional contact in that context, would you find it helpful, and more importantly, would you act on it?
Introductions are only as useful as the actions they create, so think about what exactly you are recommending your professional colleagues to do, and the practical value of your recommendation. Your simple act of introducing two people can lead to an effective new partnership, or waste three people’s time (including yours).
If you properly consider the context and take genuine interest in being helpful, your “gift” of connection making can not only help build professional relationships that make a difference in people’s lives, but also enhance your own professional networks.
"There are some subtleties in passing a request along, such that the end recipient judges YOU alongside the original requester. If you feel your reputation might be somehow tarnished by this request, give it some thought. But then, why are you linked to someone you don't feel comfortable introducing to others?" - Chris Brogan