What is an introduction with purpose?

From day one we are told to build a network, use social media and attend networking events. In how many networking events or meetings have you heard the phrase, “tell the group a bit about yourself?”, only to give basic headline information around job title and the organisation which you work for. For many years, I worked in events hosting many gala dinners which required spending hours researching profiles, so the ‘right’ people (matching job titles) sat next to the most relevant person for them.

Was that an introduction with purpose? No! The purposeful introduction needs to have more than just a match based upon job title or organisational background - it’s about initiating relationships that are designed to develop and last. How different would it be to be introduced to others based on your strengths and interest areas? These introductions would save small talk and give you more confidence to engage on purposeful subjects with passion.

People are inherently interesting, especially when we know their particular career passions and what drives their motivation and goals. The diversity of personal stories, lives, career choices, and what each individual can teach us all add to a much richer experience and understanding of the working world. Networking for me is just that.

The art of making purposeful introductions:

  • Research. Understand the profile of the individual or organisation you are seeking to engage with.
  • Why? Why do these individuals need to be introduced to each other?
  • Listen. Everyone’s story and learning hold gems of interesting information and lead to universal progress.
  • Outcomes. What are the proposed outcomes of this purposeful introduction?

The foremost principle of etiquette for making purposeful introductions lies in professional, engaged and thoughtful interaction, based on mutual respect.

So, how do YOU make purposeful introductions? 

For further information, check out our worksheet on How To Network, or go further with our Leadership Essentials on Networking.  


Voices from our community: Jane Nicholson-Biss is  Stakeholder Engagement Manager at The Institute of Leadership & Management.

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