The way we network is changing rapidly. As many professionals embrace a hybrid remote work environment and the future of in-person events remains in flux, the ability to network remotely is an essential skill.
However, that does not mean you should take the liberty to invite yourself into someone's inbox or DM's and demand advice. In fact, that's a quick way to被忽略.
Email is still thetop communication channel对于许多专业人士以及在混合工作环境中，发送有效的介绍电子邮件是职业发展的关键技能。
Relationship-Building Email: What Not to Do
My name is Jane Smith, and I run Acme Organic Pet Food, a new company that produces and distributes right here in Cleveland. I see on LinkedIn you’re connected to several “big players” in the local pet product business community — in particular, Jim White over at Acme Pet SuperStore
Would you be willing to introduce me to Jim over email? I’d really appreciate it
What if John and Jim don’t know each other very well? And now Jane has asked for a favor that’s either awkward for John to complete or not possible.
Problem 2: Jane gives John a homework assignment.
John’s first encounter with Jane is an unpleasant one — he now has to find time to help a stranger and expend his own relationship capital in the process. What a hassle.
So what's the solution to Jane’s misguided email approach?
“Important” people like John and other business execs will often stop in their tracks and respond to an email if the subject line contains a powerful three-word phrase, "我需要你的建议。"
The “ask for advice” strategy is non-threatening and a breath of fresh air. You don’t want people to do work on your behalf; you prefer to absorb their wisdom. We spend our lives amassing knowledge but rarely have an open invitation to share it with someone else. What a luxury to be asked!
When you sit quietly, listen to the person's advice, and come back with smart follow-up questions, you also build a relationship. Each new conversation strengthens your network, which in turn helps your business.
The Ultimate Networking Email Template
Here’s the outline of the email Jane should have written to John:
Here's what the电子邮件模板looks like in practice:
My name is Jane Smith, and I run Acme Organic Pet Food, a new company that produces and distributes right here in Cleveland. I am relatively new to the pet product business and still learning my way as I grow Acme Organic
I know you have a lot of experience in the space, and it would be great to sit with you and learn about the industry as well as the “do’s” and “don’ts” as I get started
Success 1: Jane asks for advice
Note how Jane asks for advice to build trust with John and, over time, make him part of her network. As she grows her pet food business, she will need mentors and allies. Most people want to help each other. Jane knows that and is using it to create a genuine connection with John.
而且，在咖啡聊天后，约翰可能会同意将她与吉姆·怀特（Jim White）联系起来，吉姆·怀特（Jim White）是她想见面的Acme Pet Superstore的所有者。但这是因为她建立了信任水平，并以正确的方式建立了关系。
这里有更多这种类型的主题行of email that you can use or adapt for your unique situation:
General networking subject lines
- "I'm a little lost"
- "[Mutual acquaintance] recommended we speak"
College alumni subject lines
- "Fellow [your college] grad who needs your advice"
- “ [吉祥物名称]需要建议”
- "Time for a fellow [college name] grad?"
- "Fellow [alumni name] out in the wilderness."
- "Big fan of your work who needs your advice"
- "Inspired fan needs your advice"
- "Advice for a hustler like you?"
- "5 minutes of your time could make my career."
- "Buy you a coffee?"
- "I'm new here ... and a little lost"
- "Question from the new hire"
- "[Name] recommended I connect with you"
- "Nice to meet you"
How to Write a Networking Email
- Tell them something about their work you admire.
- Tell them how you can help.
- Ask them for help or advice.
How to Write a Networking Email to a Stranger
If you're writing a networking email to a stranger, try to work at least a few of the following five points into your message:
如果您以通用的领先优势，您的善意将一无所获。”我上周在大西洋上看到了您的文章。" Instead, get specific about what you liked. A better approach would be, "我阅读你的大西洋篇关于轨的崛起emade dog food last week. I especially liked your point about how homemade meals can sometimes be lacking in the vitamins and minerals pets need in their food."
这样的经典例子是，”Hey, I see you went to X College. So did I! Don't you miss sunny afternoons on Library Lawn?" But you're not limited to college talk. If they have similar professional interests, tweet about a hobby you share, or are members of similar LinkedIn groups, use that as a jumping-off point in your email.
As we've done in the examples above, ask your recipient for help. A recentHarvard Business Review articlesays, "The key to a successful request for help is to shift the focus to these benefits. You want people to feel that they would be helping because they want to, not because they must, and that they're in control of the decision.
The article continues to explain that means avoiding language like, "May I ask you a favor,“这往往会使人们感到被困在帮助中。它还建议避免使用诸如类似的短语道歉”I feel terrible for asking this.“相反，工作语言像，”Can we work together to figure this out?“这是科学证明的，可以促进信息交换。
5. Always start with an easy ask.
Never ask for the connection, favor, or meeting first. This can come across as too pushy or forward. Test the waters with a request for advice, information, or other knowledge sharing. This builds trust and relationships, and it increases your chances of success when you do ask them to introduce you to that connection you've been eyeing.
Here's an easy template you can use putting these tips into practice:
My name is Quincy Davis, and I manage partnerships at Mix Furniture Co. I read your feature in the LA Times last week and appreciated your valuable insight on future design trends.
How to Write a Networking Email to Someone You Know
If you're writing a networking email to someone you already know, the hardest part is done. Instead, shift your tone and content to making sure they feel appreciated and collaborated instead of used and discarded. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
...并意味着它。不要只是用通用启动电子邮件，”How have you been?" Dig deep and ask about their kids by name or how that obscure hobby they're interested in is going. These kinds of questions are also more enticing for your reader to answer. "How are you doing?" is easy to ignore and lazy.
Make your email even more personable by offering a sentence on how you're doing. Something like, "I'm doing well. Just got back into the office after a family trip to Disneyland, so I'm getting caught up and enjoying not having to stand in line for 45 minutes to use the copy machine!" This is personal, conversational, and a little funny. It's the perfect way to put your reader at ease as if they're talking to a friend — even if you've only met once or twice.
一旦您有礼貌地打开消息，请指出重点。由于您已经与这个人有关系，因此少糖衣的理由是少量的。一个简单的， ”我今天接触的原因是..." will do the trick.
My name is Nova, and we met briefly at INBOUND last week. I was really impressed with your session, and I hope you enjoyed the rest of the event.
In my role at XYZ Studios, I'm looking to bring in experts who can lead upcoming sessions for our employee development group. I immediately thought of your presentation at INBOUND and wanted to gauge your interest in participating in this paid opportunity.
Do you have time to hop on a call this week and discuss more details?
Good luck with your next outreach email and remember: The best way to build a relationship is to listen, learn, and ask questions.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in December 2015 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
Originally published Aug 3, 2021 5:00:00 PM, updated August 03 2021