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In the world of LinkedIn, where everyone in your network can see everyone else you’re connected to, there’s a simple rule to follow: If someone wants to meet someone else in your network, don’t make the introduction without asking him or her first. These “cold” intros can be off-putting, and they can leave the recipient feeling off-balance, annoyed, and unsure of what to do next.

There’s an easy way around this—emailing your contact and asking for permission before you make the introduction. Here’s how to do it, politely and professionally.


Subject

OK to Intro You to a Contact?


Body

Hi [Name],

I was asked by [referral name], a [context: e.g., smart student in my seminar / former colleague from XYZ company, good friend] for an introduction to you. I know you’re busy, but thought it could be a useful connection because [upside: e.g., you share a passion for analytics / he could be a good asset to your team / she has experience in something you want to know about].

I wanted to run it by you first, however, out of respect for your time, and I’m happy to suggest a short call instead of coffee or a meeting, depending on what you prefer. Let me know if that’s OK!

Thanks,

[Your Name]



Remember that you never want to ask for more than is reasonable from your contacts. If your cousin’s, er, “questionable” friend wants an introduction to your company’s CEO, it’s perfectly fine to respond with, “I know Mark is very busy right now, so I don’t quite feel comfortable making the introduction. Is there anything else I can help you with?”