A List of Phrases to Delete from Your Email When Networking

A List of Phrases to Delete from Your Email

When Networking

The art of mustering up the courage to reach out to someone and ask them for help can be daunting, exhausting, and way more complicated than you think. After meeting someone who catches your career attention, you may wonder what the best way to approach them is if you’d like advice, an in-person chat, or just access to their brilliant contacts.

Should you send them a LinkedIn request? Tweet directly at them? How about a detailed email, pouring out your own personal life story, with an ask buried in at the end?

A LinkedIn request is always a good idea, since it allows you to stay connected to this person, at a friendly distance. A Tweet may come off too brash, especially if the Tweet just contains what it is you want them to help you with. An email may be the best way to go, as long as you make the email less about you and more about them.

Here’s why.

People want to help people. Successful people do enjoy mentoring others who are just starting out in the game. CEO’s are known to spend time leading workshops, writing down lessons learned, and helping those around them reach their own personal goals.

But it’s all about how you ask. Below are the five most popular phrases we use in emails to people we want to network with that drive them crazy and make them hesitate to say yes to helping you, let alone hit the reply button and give you a response.

A LinkedIn request is always a good idea, since it allows you to stay connected to this person, at a friendly distance. A Tweet may come off too brash, especially if the Tweet just contains what it is you want them to help you with. An email may be the best way to go, as long as you make the email less about you and more about them.

1. Can I Pick Your Brain?

One of the main things you might want to do when networking with someone, is run a gigantic list of questions by them, in hopes of learning the best responses to them. Sometimes, the advice they’d give you when they answered those questions would cost a couple hundred bucks if you were one of their consulting clients. If you know they do consulting, perhaps pay their fee. That way, you are respecting their time and their knowledge. If not, offer to barter services with them. Offer to do something for them and their business (like social media, digital marketing, branding, etc.) in exchange for an hour of their time answering your most pressing questions.

2. I’d Love to Know How You Did It?

An allure of reaching out to a person who is a couple steps above you in their career path is that you wish you get a play-by-play summary of their entire career, and life story, to see exactly how they got to where they are now. 

The problem with writing this in an email is that it can seem daunting for the person reading it. You’re asking them to tell you how they did it? That’s a conversation that would likely fill a book, take plenty of hours, and may even be TMI and not what they are willing to share.

3. Can You Help Me Get to the Next Level?

Working is great because when you network with the right person, you learn things from them and build a relationship that both of you can potentially benefit from. But, when you reach out to someone you’d like to network with and ask them to help hold your hand and drag you to the next level, you can come off as a needy, not willing to put in the dirty work yourself, or just plain old selfish. Instead of asking for that person to help you, write to them asking them how you can help them first.

4. Can I Put Some Time on Your Calendar?

Let’s face it; everyone is busier than they should be. Most people find that the majority of their day is booked with back-to-back meetings and if they find a few minutes for lunch, that day was a success. Asking to put some time on a person’s calendar may just not be something that’s feasible for them. Instead, asking to stop by for just 15 minutes to say hello or to take them out to dinner, post-work hours, might be a friendlier way to ask to meet them IRL.

5. Can I Send You Something to Look At?

Think about how many emails you get everyday. It’s a lot right? For most of the emails you read, you hope to read them and respond ASAP so you can toss that email out of your inbox. When emailing someone you’re networking with and requesting they take a look at something, whether it be your resume, a paper you wrote, or your business plan, it will give them a headache. Instead of pushing that on them in the first email, build a relationship and connection with them first before asking that. Once you’ve built  that rapport with them, they will be more likely to help you out.

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Jen Glantz

Jen Glantz is the author of the new book Always a Bridesmaid (For Hire) and the founder of the head-turning business, Bridesmaid for Hire. She can often be spotted wearing old bridesmaid dresses to the grocery store or on first dates.

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