Making Connections without Bungling the Name
June 29, 2018
Once I was at an event in which I ran into two people I thought would benefit from knowing each other. Each were in complementary businesses, so they could possible refer business to one another. Each were great networkers, meaning they would look to help each other as they could. Most important, I thought both would like each other personally.
As I was introducing them, I suddenly went completely blank on one of their names. Now there’s an awkward moment! I’ve just told this person that I want to help them by introducing them to someone they ought to know, and my brain won’t let their name won’t fall out on to my tongue.
Fortunately I was saved by this individual’s name tag, which seemed to call out and say, “Look at me; I’m here to help!” I recovered, and the introduction went smoothly. Even so, my brain and I weren’t on speaking terms the rest of the evening.
One aspect of my business I particularly relish is making connections between others. For me, it goes beyond the enjoyment which comes from making a good connection. It’s something more; it’s a calling for me. I believe that we are all better, particularly in the often lonely space of entrepreneurship and a world that’s divided into tribes, when we have a greater number of genuinely human and supportive connections with each other.
Connecting people the wrong way, though, is bungling the name. Sending a blind, three-way email is often the worst. We’ve all received them, right? The “You two should know each other. Enjoy!” drive-bys which make you feel like your pocket has been picked clean. While someone may have been thinking about you and the other person in the connection, the connector here seems to be doing just enough to try to score brownie points with both parties.
It’s not that all unexpected three-way emails are bad. I sent plenty of them and most have been well-received by both parties. I’ve introduced both parties to each other with several sentences of detail on what each does. In those notes I’ve explained why I thought both would be a good connection for the other. Both parties often respond with appreciation for the connection.
What I’ve missed by sending such an email, even if both parties value the note, is the deeper personal connection which comes from talking to both personally. That’s why now, before I make a three-way email introduction, I always call both parties and speak with them first. I tell them about the other individual, their business, and why I think the introduction would be beneficial. I ask for permission to connect them. I let each know that they’ll receive a note from me only after I’ve spoken to the other individual and received permission from them as well.
By placing those calls, several benefits naturally occur. I’ve made a much more solid introduction, because both individuals know I care enough, in a world dominated by texting and social media, to take the time to make a personal phone call. It gives me the chance to catch up with both individuals myself. I avoid the embarrassment of someone’s business or circumstances having changed such that this connection, which previously was a good one, really isn’t anymore. Finally, I also get the chance to deepen my connection with both parties by hearing about what’s going on in their lives. I’m able to ask what they need and understand what I can do to be helpful to them.
By making those calls, I’ve not only made a great three-way introduction, I’ve deepened my relationship with each of those individuals. All three of us are the better.
(Photo credit: Pexels)
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