Professional favours can be tricky.
You might be more than happy to recommend a fantastic former intern you couldn’t hire for a permanent position elsewhere. You might be psyched to connect a contact asking for an introduction in your network.
Or, you might not.
If you find yourself on the latter side of things, Jocelyn Glei, author of “Unsubscribe: How to Kill Email Anxiety, Avoid Distractions, and Get Real Work Done,” has a few suggestions.
If you don’t feel comfortable making an introduction, try:
Hi Claire — I’d love to help you out, but my relationship with [insert contact’s name] is still fairly new, so I don’t really feel comfortable making introductions at this juncture.
If you’re dodging someone’s ask that you share a client’s email, use:
Hi Dan — I wish I could help you out, but all contact information for our clients is considered proprietary company information. Unfortunately I’m not at liberty to share it with competitors.
Glei writes that making a connection or intro means you’re implicitly endorsing the people you connect. “If you’re not comfortable with leveraging your credibility for someone or it’s not the right moment to do so, it’s fine to politely decline the request,” she writes.
As she says repeatedly in her book, “Just because someone asked doesn’t mean they expect a yes.”
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