Here’s the situation: you’re reaching out to someone in the startup community who you’ve met before but who you’re not particularly close with.
You’re looking to reconnect with them – maybe about a job opportunity, or about a new product you’re selling. In short, you need their help.
“How do I know her?”
When you’re trying to reconnect with this busy person in person or over email, you need to help then answer this question – and fast.
Why? A busy startup founder, executive, or investor meets a boatload of people on a weekly basis.
Couple this with the fact that your initial meeting with them may have taken place weeks, months, or even years ago – it’s quite possible you’re not going to be top of mind for them.
It’s also quite possible they may not even remember having met you before!
What would Roelof Botha do?
Even a successful, well known guy like Roelof Botha of Sequoia Capital goes through the trouble to introduce himself to people he’s already met and who quite likely know him. Just ask Michael Arrington. I’ve started doing this recently and although it feels a bit awkward at times it ensures you establish familiarity early in a conversation.
Also, when you reach back out to busy people via email, you should provide a very tight (1 sentence) context about how you know each other or where you first met.
Even better, you can combine that tactic with a reply to a previous email thread that you had with the person.
This additional context can help jog the receiver’s memory regarding how they came to know you in the first place, making them more likely to help you again this time around.