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Email Etiquette Lesson #3: What is a blind introduction?

On any given day on Twitter, you'll see a few people expressing their opinions on blind introductions. It's not pretty:

So... what is a blind introduction, and why does it get such a bad reputation?

What is a blind introduction?

A blind introduction is when someone makes an unsolicited introduction without asking for permission first.

Imagine this scenario:

  1. Your friend "Sally" sends you an email introducing you to their friend "Bob" about some random opportunity.
  2. You are uninterested in meeting with "Bob" and his opportunity, but now there is unwarranted pressure for you to connect with him.
  3. If "Bob" replies back to you, you are now placed in an uncomfortable situation where you are placing Sally's reputation on the line.

If only Sally had asked you for permission before making the introduction, no one would have been placed in this predicament.

A blind introduction is bad email etiquette, plain and simple. Blind intros are inconsiderate and can sour relationships.

What can you do if you receive a blind introduction?

In his blog post "Ask Before You Intro", Elad Gil recommends to do one of two things:

  1. Politely ask the person who did the blind intro to stop making them to you. This can be phrased nicely - e.g. "I am really busy and want to help people in your network. If you intro me to someone and I don't have time to reply or I am irrelevant to, it may reflect poorly on both of us. Can you please ask me before making an intro in case I can direct the person to someone who may be more useful or relevant?"
  2. Ask for context from either the introducer, or the introduced. E.g. "Fred, nice to meet you. Can you please provide context on what you want to discuss?". I have found a pretty large number of blind intros either (a) are not relevant to me (I can say as much, which means it is a polite decline) or (b) unexpected for the other person too (who has just been put in the same spot as me! I.e. a double blind intro).

What is the right way to make an introduction?

IntroJoy - email etiquette

Proper email etiquette would be to make a double opt-in introduction, where you ask each party if it is okay to be introduced. Once both parties agree, that is when you connect them together.

The next time someone sends you a blind intro, you can let them know to use IntroJoy, a tool that helps people save time and hassle when making double opt-in emails, or when requesting an introduction.



Co-Founder, IntroJoy