How (not) to Introduce 2 People

​You’re a connector and love introducing people to each other. It can be a wonderful (sometimes career-changing) effect when it’s the right match!

Yet, when it’s the wrong match — unfortunately much of the time — by being the connector, you just added a burden to them. Now they’re in an awkward position you’ve forced them into, where one person, if they don’t want to connect, will come across as unfriendly or unapproachable.
Still, the benefits are big enough that it’s worth learning to do this well. You can make deep positive lasting impressions for many people.

Before you make an intro, think carefully about the following.

1. How each person works with others

The farther along someone is in their business, the clearer a structure they have for working with others.

To an influencer, someone you introduce to them might fit one of these:

  1. Potential Client — you could introduce a potential client to them if you know enough about their business to know that it would be a really good match. Importantly: the potential client must have already expressed interest in being that other person’s client.

  2. Resource — maybe you’ve used someone’s service (e.g. a freelancer) that you believe can really help grow the influencer’s business. You know the influencer’s business well enough to know that they probably need this kind of person.

  3. Referral Source — someone who is interested in interviewing them on a podcast / youtube channel / blog and has an established audience and may even want to become an affiliate for the influencer. To know what is a right-match audience, see the next section.

Before you think about making the intro, do you know what kind of person the influencer is looking for? If you’re not sure, ask them which of these 3 would be most helpful for them.

(To save you from having to ask me — I’m most interested in potential referral sources — people whose videos get 100+ views on either Youtube, FB or IG, or they have a podcast with 100+ ratings, and who talk about business/marketing with their audience. Ask them first if they’d like to interview me and if they say yes, let me know!)

2. Right-match audience

Someone who is early in their business (aka “newbie”) generally should not be introduced to someone who is far along (aka “influencer”), with the exceptions that I named above.

The simplest way to gauge a match is to first study the audience of both people. Look at their social media: where are they most active? (e.g. George Kao FB Page / George Kao Instagram) How many likes do they typically get per post? Or if they have a video channel (e.g. George Kao Youtube) how many views do they typically get per video? This gives you a realistic picture of their “organic” audience.

Compare both people’s audiences — is it within 50–200% of each other? For example, as you can see from my Youtube videos (George Kao recent video uploads) when I interview someone, I get on average something like 120 views. So therefore, I’d be willing to consider trading interviews with someone who gets on average 60–240 video views each time they interview people.

Plus, it’s got to be the right topic match. Would each person’s audience find it highly unusual, or within reason, that they’re interviewing the other person?

How to make the introduction?

Think through the above 2 points first — what kind of person are you introducing, and if it’s a colleague/peer, is there audience match?

Then, individually email Person A to let them know about Person B and ask if they’d like an intro.

Do the same with Person B.

Only if both people have said Yes, do you then go ahead and make the intro.

I’ve made this mistake many times in the past — of not having gotten permission from both people privately first. It created an awkward situation for everyone. I’ve also been on the receiving side of this faux pas.

Hopefully starting today you won’t have to make the same mistake :)

Once both people have agreed to the intro, simply send a short email (or FB message) to both people at the same time:

“Bob, meet Mary — I thought you two might enjoy meeting each other because of this reason: ________. I’ll let you two take it from here!”

What if the influencer doesn’t want to be introduced?

Let’s say the influencer (“Mary”) is too busy and can’t take an introduction at this time. Thank Mary for letting you know, then write back to the other person (“Bob”) --
“Bob, it looks like Mary has a lot on her plate at the moment. For now, I’d recommend that you check out her online courses first. My favorite is Course XYZ.”

If Bob goes ahead and actually purchases a product from Mary and likes it, then Bob might feel comfortable reaching out to Mary himself, starting with praising the product.

This is a public service announcement…

I hope you can learn from my mistakes.

Feel free to share this with others!