The crucial email introduction etiquette rules to appropriately introduce two people over email. How to make a proper email introduction and how to respond to one.
What email introduction etiquette is
Email introduction etiquette is the set of rules to properly introduce two people over email and politely respond to an email introduction. Such rules help us make an effective email introduction, make the right first impression, and avoid upsetting others. They include:
- How to introduce two people over email.
- How to respond to an email introduction.
- The mistakes to avoid.
When you make an email introduction, follow the etiquette rules to introduce people in the appropriate ways.
When someone introduces you to someone else over email, respect email introduction etiquette to politely respond, make the right impression, and get the most out of the introduction.
Email introduction etiquette rules
1) Agree with both sides before making the introduction
Before introducing two people over email, it is polite to agree with both parties. Otherwise, you risk upsetting one or even both parties. One or both persons may feel forced to start a conversation they have no interest in. You even risk introducing two people that are at odds with each other.
Thus, before sending the introduction email, ask permission from both parties. A quick email or text message is enough. If both parties agree, then you can send the email.
If one person declines the introduction, tactfully inform the other person. Use a polite excuse, such as the other person is traveling or is going through a busy time.
2) Write a short introduction for each person
In general, email introductions should follow the same principles of in-person introduction etiquette.
Choose a simple and clear subject. Such as “Introduction: John <> Jane”. An elaborate subject is not needed. Thus, do not overthink it.
Keep the introduction email short. Ideally, make it just 3 or 4 sentences long, unless you need to provide additional detail.
Include the appropriate salutation to address multiple people in an email. Then, use the first sentence to state the purpose of the email or to break the ice.
Dedicate one or two sentences to introduce each person. State why you think the introduction is beneficial to both.
Finally, close the email by leaving the scene and allowing the two people to start the conversation. Include a normal closing formula, such as “sincerely”, and your email signature if appropriate.
- Break the ice: “Hello Jane and John, I hope this email finds you well.”
- Introduce the first person: “John, Jane leads a successful digital business. She is looking for legal counsel and I thought you might help her on this.”
- Introduce the second person: “Jane, John is an experienced lawyer and has worked with several clients in the industry.”
- Close the introduction: “I let the two of you take it from here.”
3) Aim to be the first to respond
It is best to respond to an introduction email as soon as you see it. A quick reply shows openness and that you are willing to start the conversation. A late reply indicates the opposite.
Avoid tactics. Do not overthink roles and who should tactically reply first. It is much more important to make the right first impression and appear as a polite person, regardless of the situation.
4) Move the sender to bcc
When replying to an introduction over email, it is polite to remove the original sender from the subsequent conversation.
Write a short sentence at the beginning of your reply, thanking the person for the introduction and stating that you are moving them to bcc. “Hello Mary, thank you for the introduction, very much appreciated. Moving you to bcc.”
This way, the sender will not receive unnecessary emails as the conversation unfolds. However, the sender in bcc will see that someone replied, and thus that the introduction was successful and their role is fulfilled.
5) The first reply is an ice breaker
It is best to keep the first exchange light. The first email should serve as an ice-breaker, such as making small talk after an in-person conversation. Its purpose is to build rapport, before easing into the discussion.
Make a short introduction about yourself, no longer than one or two sentences. Then, state why you are interested or open to a conversation with the other person. Finally, ask the other person permission to continue the conversation.
6) Follow-up with the sender
After the introduction, it is polite to thank and update the sender. It is unnecessary to go into lengthy detail. Simply thank the sender for their help and tell them whether the conversation progressed well or if it stalled.
If the conversation stalled after the introduction, you should let the sender know. However, it is impolite to ask the sender for further action. Express gratitude and excuse yourself or switch the topic.
What if someone does not reply to an email introduction?
When someone does not reply to an email introduction, you can send them a reminder after 1 or 2 days. If you still get no answer, take it as a cue that the other person is not open to starting a conversation at this time.
Email introduction etiquette: the worst mistakes
The Rude Index identifies and ranks negative behaviors.
A high score (8-10) means that the behavior has the potential to trigger a conflict with others. A medium score (4-7) means that the behavior risks making you look inelegant and unsophisticated. Read more about the Rude Index and its methodology here.
Avoid the worst email introduction etiquette mistakes:
- 8/10. Not agreeing with both parties before the introduction.
- 7/10. Answering late.
- 7/10. Not answering.
- 3/10. Writing a too-long introduction email.
- When Is It Too Late To Reply to an Email? rhsmith.umd.edu