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Email introduction etiquette

Sending email introductions is pretty common occurrence in the tech field. As simple as we may think them, people coming from other industries do not necessarily know these common practices.

How it all goes down.

Let's take for example John, a junior developer, asks Hillary, a senior developer, for some connections in a new city he is traveling to. John would first send an email to Hillary stating that he is going to be traveling to Cleveland where he thinks she knows people. She would come up with a list of people to intro. She messages her contacts and asks if they are okay with being introduced to a junior developer who will be in town. She may skip this step for people she knows will be fine with it, but it is often safer to be explicit.

For the purposes of the narrative, we will say that Hillary's friend Andrew is the person she will intro to. On confirmation, she sends an email to Andrew ccing John. She tells Andrew a bit about John, then she tells John a bit about Andrew. She encourages them to setup a time to talk and that's that from her perspective.

From this point, the next person who responds says thanks to Hillary for the introduction and moves her to BCC, so she doesn't have to listen to the coordination. It is common courtesy to offer a couple concrete times to meet up so someone can say yes or propose an alternative without lots of back and forth.

An example.

From: John 
To: Hillary 
Subject: Intro? 

Hi Hillary, 

I'm going to be traveling to Boulder next month. I'd love to connect with a few developers while I'm out there. Can you make any intros? 

Thanks, 
John 
From: Hillary 
To: John 

Sure thing. 
-h 

From: Hillary 
To: Andrew 

Hey Andrew, 

A friend of mine is coming to town, do you mind if I send an intro and you guys can maybe grab lunch? 
-h 
From: Andrew 
To: Hillary 

That sounds great! I love meeting new people. 

From: Hillary 
To: Andrew 
Cc: John 

Hey Andrew, 

This is my friend John. He's a junior developer and is really excited about clojurescript right now. I know you're working on your clojure to php cross compiler and thought you guys might have something in common. 

John, this is Andrew. We worked together at the Browns stadium in college. Ask him about how much fun we had in Professor Garby's crypto class when you have a chance. 

Hope you two have a chance to meet up, 
-h 
From: John 
To: Andrew 
Bcc: Hillary 

Thanks Hillary (bcc'd) 

Hi Andrew, 

Great to meet you. I'd love to meet up. Are you free on the 3rd at 4pm or the 5th at 11:30am? I'm not sure where, as it's my first trip to the city. Maybe we can go to whatever your favorite place is? 

Thanks, 
John 

Sometimes we come across communication patterns that are learned over time, but aren't written down anywhere. Are there any other things like this that you think people need to know about? Let us know in the comments below.