Help me with this business etiquette question, please.
May 15, 2019 5:53 PM   Subscribe

I have a business etiquette question re: networking introductions, and it's outside of my usual wheelhouse. Please help me understand how to deal with this.

I used to work in Occupation X, but now I work in Occupation Z. Someone I know in Occupation X -- reputable, legitimate, good person, etc. -- would like to do an X project on the topic of Z, and knowing that I know Z asked me to meet with him.

In our meeting it became clear that he'd like to throw money at me to do the project, but I told him I don't want to do it (mostly because I'm totally done with Occupation X and also legit don't have the time/bandwidth), but I'm thrilled to introduce him to some key players in Z.

The people I'm thinking of on my list:
Group 1: People I work with very closely, who I know rather well, though only on a professional level.
Group 2: People I've worked with in a small capacity, so we're business aquaintances.
Group 3: People who I think might be a good match for this project, whose reputation I know, who I have not worked with and do not know personally. They may be aware of my presence in the industry as I have a good reputation.

So what's the business way to handle this? Do I tell Friend, "Here's my list, here's who these people are, do you want to be introduced to the ones I know and reach out on your own to the ones I don't know?" Or do I reach out to the ones I know well/kinda know, and say, "Hey, there's a potential project opportunity with this guy, are you interested in being connected?" And what about Group 3 people in that case?

I guess I'm trying to facilitate some networking here but I'm not sure of the best way to go about it. Thanks for your assistance!
posted by BlahLaLa to Work & Money (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Reach out first to the people you’re potentially connecting to friend. If they’re willing to connect, cc both on an email. Don’t mention names to friend first, pending your outreach. This would go for the first two groups.

For the last group, I’d just name names from the start and the friend can do their own outreach.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 6:02 PM on May 15, 2019 [11 favorites]

Confirming, share what you know with the people on your lists, including that you might be introducing multiple people for consideration. Let them know when you need a yes/no response byand that you’ll treat silence as a no.
posted by bilabial at 6:27 PM on May 15, 2019

Do the double opt-in introduction for anyone you think makes sense to be connected. Difficult for anyone here to draw the line at your groups 1, 2 and 3, but the double opt in is the important thing.
posted by caek at 7:48 PM on May 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

Here's how I would approach this in my (academic) field. Write an email describing briefly what Friend wants and the funding opportunity that this presents, including Friend's contact information. Send it to your colleagues in Occupation Z. Those who are interested can contact Friend directly, taking you out of the middle. If you feel it's necessary, clear this with Friend first (since you'll be sending out their contact info to people they don't know).
posted by heatherlogan at 4:44 AM on May 16, 2019

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