Crafting the Perfect Networking Email

Two important skills every business professional should focus on building over time are networking and writing. Networking, the art of connecting with others and developing a collection of professional contacts that help employees enhance their careers, can be difficult for people with social anxiety or limited time, which make attending events tricky. A networking email can be an effective tool as long as you know how to write one.

A networking email serves several purposes:

  • Introduces two or more people
  • Reminds the recipient that the sender would like to maintain a connection
  • Initiates dialogue on how all parties could work together in the future

These types of messages are difficult because they have to sound at once breezy and serious, human and professional. Networking emails can’t be desperate attempts at soliciting business (trust me, it’s obvious when they are). Nor can they be without purpose, otherwise it’s seen as a waste of time.

Here are tips on how to improve networking email writing:

Provide context

It’s imperative an email recipient understands almost immediately the purpose of a message. LinkedIn recommended beginning with a contextualized subject line such as “Follow-up from Friday’s networking event.” This indicates not only what the content may be, but who may be sending the email. Emails from strangers are not read with vigor, urgency or compassion. An email from an acquaintance, on the other hand, generates more interest.

Don’t surprise people

Avoid catching anyone off-guard, especially when composing an email meant to introduce two parties. Quartz, a digital global news outlet, suggested using a double opt-in introduction template, which involves emailing both parties separately rather than CC’ing them into the same message. For instance, you have a friend whose talents would make her a perfect consultant for a client. Email your friend first with information about the client to gauge her interest. If interested, email your client offering to introduce the two parties. You’ve provided context and insight as to their professional fit.

Avoid the word “me”

Though it sounds strange, using the words “me,” “I” and “myself” can inadvertently make a message sound ruder than it is. The Daily Muse noted these words transfer focus to the writer, which could rub readers the wrong way. Keeping phrasing within the context of the company or industry is a stronger writing choice. “Me” also has the tendency to sound like whining, even when not intended.

When in doubt, be polite and concise. If team members feel they present better in person, a networking email is also a sufficient and simple way to set up a coffee date.

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