More than ever, today's managers must be effective communicators – not just with those they see face-to-face, but also with those who work from home or satellite offices. If it has fallen to you to introduce two people who will “meet” via email, you will be making what has come to be known as the “virtual introduction.” Without the benefit of facial expressions and inflections, it's vital that you adopt an appropriate tone and choose your words carefully, assuming that they will be scrutinized as much for what you include as what you choose to omit.

Step 1.

Know thy audience but stay true to your purpose. One person has to be introduced first, the other second, so choose the order with care. For example, if you're introducing a writer and editor who will be working together on a project, it would be appropriate to introduce the lead person first. If the two people will retain equal status but one has more seniority, mention this person first.

Step 2.

Begin by explaining why you're making the introduction. Choose a tone that is reflective of your mission, knowing that it might also set the tenor of the relationship you're trying to forge. Your tone also should reflect your managerial style and subtly convey your expectations. For example, you might wish to say that you're “delighted to forge a connection between two talented team members who otherwise might never have a chance to work together.”

Step 3.

Devote equal time to each person, highlighting key points about their backgrounds and respective talents. You might wish to write one paragraph about each person, ending with that person's contact information. Keep your eye trained on tone; if you effuse about one person, be sure to effuse about the other.

Step 4.

State your expectations. If you want them to talk by phone, say so. And give them a deadline for doing so. Designate one person to take the initiative and report to you that they have successfully made contact.

Step 5.

Close your virtual introduction on a positive note – presumably the same way you started it. Underscore your hopes for a production collaboration. If you convey positive energy, it should be contagious.


As with all types of writing, don't rush a virtual introduction. It pays to set it aside, turn to other tasks and then return to it with a fresh pair of eyes. Try reading it from each person's point of view, scrutinize your word choices and make any revisions before sending it.