Yesterday morning, I received this LinkedIn message:

Aja, will you introduce me to Kayla?

I had no idea who this person was. My first instinct was to reply with:

Uh, do I know you? Also, I think you forgot the “please.”

But I decided that this response (while satisfying) probably wasn’t the most professional.

Then, I thought about ignoring the message. But that seemed unprofessional, too. So, I wrote back, asking how we were connected and nicely suggesting she lead with that detail next time.

I’m glad I did—turns out that this woman was using LinkedIn’s default introduction request for a second-degree connection.

Please, please, please: If you want to be introduced, don’t use this message. I’ve written a few templates that you can try instead (to much better effect!).


For the Near Strangers

I had no idea who this woman was—and I’d imagine that most of us have LinkedIn contacts who are essentially strangers.

If you’re reaching out to one of these people, try the following template:

Dear Mark,

Hope you’re well! We connected last [week/month/year] after I [read your article online, saw you speak at a conference, met you at the CRM conference]. Would you be open to introducing me to [person’s name]? I’d like to speak to [him/her] about [your purpose for talking].

Thanks so much!

Aja


For the Professional Acquaintances

You know these people, but not very well. That’s why it’s a good idea to subtly include some context. Also, if you can think of some way of providing value to them, mention it.

Hi Grace,

How are you? It was really fun chatting with you at that product manager meetup last May—we should get together for coffee one of these days!

In the meantime, I was wondering if you could connect me with [person]. I’m looking to [reason you want to talk to him or her]. Your introduction would be hugely appreciated, and I would definitely owe you (if nothing else, coffee on me!).

Thank you,

Aja


For the In-Between Connections

This category includes all the people you’re friendly with, but don’t know super well: former co-workers, current colleagues from a different department or office, that friend you had in college but haven’t seen for eight years. You get the idea.

Obviously, you can be a little less formal.

Hey Jeremy,

Long time no see—I hope you’re doing well! I’d actually love your help. LinkedIn tells me you’re connected with [person], and I was wondering if you’d be willing to introduce me. I’d like to [reason for speaking with person].

Thanks so much,

Aja


For the People You Know Fairly Well

And then there’s everyone else: the team member you work with on a regular basis, your boss, your close friends, and so on. You probably text, email, call, or see these people at least once a week.

You might wonder why it’s necessary to send a formal ask when you could just call them up or walk over to their desk. However, sending your request in writing is usually preferable—it gives the person a chance to gracefully decline if he or she chooses.

Hi Alex,

As I’ve mentioned, I’ve been [thinking about doing freelance web development/looking to transition to PR/trying to meet experienced sales directors]. I noticed you’re connected to [name]—would you be comfortable introducing me? I think [reason why meeting person would be helpful].

Thanks so much,

Aja


Extra Credit

As Muse founder Alexandra Cavoulacos explains in an article that includes an introduction email template, you can make things even easier on your connections by including a very short explanation of who you are that they can then forward along.

For example:

Jonathan is a solutions architect at Rubicon Project who’s looking to learn more about product management.

When your connection emails the third person to say, “Hey, can I make this introduction?” he or she can easily copy and paste your blurb.

If you do include one, here’s how to add it.

P.S. Here’s a quick summary of who I am, in case you want to explain to [name]!

Aja is a college senior who’s interested in getting a job in marketing and PR after graduation.


The easiest way to get a response to your intro email? Ask nicely. Luckily, with these templates, that should be nearly effortless.


Photo of texting courtesy of Shutterstock.