The ‘Forwardable Email’ Is Your Best Networking Tool
Let’s say you’re looking for a new opportunity. You’ve already scoured the online listings and put out feelers in your own professional network, and now you’re ready to take things a step further. You start asking around your social circle: “Do you happen to know anyone in my industry that you could connect me with?”
A friend might scroll through their contacts for you, but it’s likely you both know a lot of the same people already. Approaching an acquaintance is the better bet — in a classic 1974 study, the Stanford sociologist Mark Granovetter found that when it comes to finding out about job openings, “weak ties” are more important than strong ones.
But for someone you’re not especially close with, it’s a big ask: First, that acquaintance needs to think about whether they know anyone who works in your industry. Then, if they do come up with a name, they need to consider whether that person would be interested in talking to you. Then they need to write an entire introduction email from scratch.
There’s a better approach to asking someone for an introduction, one that I learned from the entrepreneur Matt Galligan: the forwardable email.
How it works: Instead of making your acquaintance do all the heavy lifting, you identify someone they know (LinkedIn is a great tool for this), write up the email to send to that person, and then ask your acquaintance to forward it over. If your acquaintance happens to hear back from the person, then that’s when they can naturally make the introduction.
I used this strategy often while building up my editorial studio. I’d search LinkedIn for dream companies to collaborate with, look for second-degree connections who worked there, and then approach the person that connection and I had in common. I’d send emails that looked like this:
Hi Kelly, I saw that you were connected to Alex Lee at Apple on LinkedIn. I think Alex’s team and mine could work on some content together. Would you be able to forward an email from me along to them and their marketing team, and make an intro if they’re interested? Thanks!