Introductions in the startup space are very important. If you abuse them you will be looked upon poorly, whereas if you do it right you can will be looked upon quite favorably.
There are right and wrong ways to go about introductions. You need to be very careful about how you approach.
There are two types of introductions:
1) Asking someone to introduce you to someone they know
2) Asking someone to take an introduction with someone you know
Both are important. Both need approval from each side before the introduction can actually be made.
I repeat: ASK BOTH SIDES BEFORE YOU MAKE THE INTRODUCTION.
The only situation when you do not need to ask a side is when you work with said person everyday and know they are okay with the introduction.
In introduction #1 make it as easy as possible for them to ask the other side. This means you should give the person you are asking the context of what you need and why talking/connecting with their contact will help. You should make your email forward-able or add a piece of info on the bottom that they can copy and paste into the “ask” email.
In intro #2 make sure you give all the relevant information to make a decision if they’d like to take you up on it. This means who you want to introduce them to, why you want to, and how the person you are introducing to them would be helpful to them/how the person taking the introduction can help them. Lay it all out.
Once both sides know the introduction is coming, it’s time to send the introduction email. The introduction email should be short and sweet. Both sides know it is coming so no need to spend time going into detail. It should look something like, “John, meet Jennifer. Jennifer, meet John. You both have the low down, so I’ll let you take it from here!” That is all.
These are some of the best practices for introductions via email. If I’m missing anything, please leave it in the comments.