Once upon a time, a well-intentioned but thoughtless dude connected two people via email, thinking one could help the other out. “Hey X – – meet my friend Y…who is writing a book and isn’t sure whether to self publish or seek a publisher…I told her you could provide your experiences and insights on the pros and cons of each option.” Y who is absolutely thrilled to be connected with X, responds with the offer to treat for coffee on an afternoon in the coming week. Y wonders why she doesn’t have an unlisted email address…then suggests three times, in 3 different cities as she is traveling all that week.
This email horror story is a variation on what I refer to as the “dump and drive” email – and as well intentioned as it may have seemed at the start, it is a massive networking fail (as I share in an aptly named chapter Networking #Fail in #BYDN). Yes, I’d go so far as to suggest that it could quite possibly be a network eliminating move (as in I’m sure as heck not taking your email requests again, dude).
And the emailing before asking frustrates people so much that they write about, in blog posts or in publications like Forbes (as venture capitalist Chris Fralic did back in 2013).
From Chapter 5 of #BYDN:
I still refer people to Chris’s timeless post, “The Art of the Email Introduction: 10 Rules for Emailing Busy People.”
As Chris states in rule 1, “ The Ask”:
Sometimes it makes sense to just make the introduction when asked, but in most cases I think it’s a best practice to ask for and receive permission before an introduction is made. This makes it a choice for the recipient and doesn’t create an obligation.
When in doubt (as in, how busy is the recipient, do they have the time or interest or ability to answer the question or take the call) – ASK!