Every day, more than 205 billion emails are sent around the world. Despite how easy it is to jot off a quick note from your phone and connect with anyone instantly, there's still some basic etiquette involved. Certain kinds of emails are not only ineffective, but unwelcome.
Here are two email formats to ban from your "Sent" folder.
The Unwanted Introduction
Introductions are a powerful way to give back to members of your network, helping them connect with potential clients, employers, mentors and colleagues.
However, it's important to recognize that an introduction is, in many ways, an obligation. You're essentially committing both parties to taking time out of their schedule to meet or have a phone call, so you should be sure that they welcome the intrusion.
To that end, it's important to get permission from both parties first, either for that specific introduction or more broadly.For example, if a friend has said they're interested in appearing on podcasts, you're likely safe to introduce them to podcast hosts; but don't assume that everyone in your network is willing to be introduced to your college pal in need of a job.
Whether you're sending the email to request permission or making the actual introduction, be sure to provide sufficient details to make the connection useful.
"Bill & Kate, think you two should meet." is not enough and could lead to some awkward responses, or none at all.
To create the greatest chance of a successful connection, provide a brief description of each person's experience or role, include relevant links to LinkedIn profiles or websites, and highlight what they have in common or why they should connect:
"Bill: As I mentioned, Kate is a friend and a talented young designer who has just moved to NYC to find work. I know you'll be able to provide your fellow Rutgers alum with some valuable advice on the industry here in the city. Kate: Bill is a former coworker of mine who heads up the design team at CompanyX. He can suggest some great local industry events and organizations, and he has some friends at other companies who may be looking for design talent. Hope you two can connect."
The Baseless Request
I can't tell you how many emails I've gotten, from complete strangers, that go something like this:
"Hi, I need you to write about my client/company/product. Here's a link. Thanks."
Asking a favor from someone you don't know, with no clear explanation of who you are, why they should help, why they're getting an email, or what's in it for them is a surefire way to guarantee yourself a negative response, if you get one at all. It's the equivalent of walking into a bar, walking up to the first person you see, and immediately asking them to go home with you. Good luck.
If you're in the position of needing to request favors or help from folks you don't have a relationship with, start by building some context and framing it as an offer rather than a demand. Explain why you're reaching out to them specifically, and provide clear information about why you are making your request, and how it may be helpful for them to collaborate with you.
Here's a much better version of that email:
"I know that you frequently write about entrepreneurs who have found success in order to show your readers how they can replicate it. (I particularly linked this column from last month.) I have a client who has accomplished X, Y and Z, in the tech space, and I think your readers would benefit from hearing about the tactics she used to make that happen. Here's her website and a brief bio. Let me know if I can share any more helpful information or set up a call to answer any questions."