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A List of Phrases to Delete from Your Email When Networking

Career

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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4 min read
Health

Tropism, Mindfulness, and Responding to Your Environment

One of the few things I remember from grade school biology is the concept of tropism. In plain language, tropism is the reaction of a living thing, like a plant, towards a stimulus like sunlight or heat. You've likely seen this before but just didn't recognize it for what it was. If you've ever seen the leaves of a potted plant bending towards a windowpane, that's tropism in action. The plant is bending towards the sunlight.

If you've ever seen the leaves of a potted plant bending towards a windowpane, that's tropism in action.

In our everyday lives, we are all inundated with stimuli throughout the day. The driver in front of us that stalls at the yellow light and zooms through the red light, leaving us behind to wait. Or the customer service rep that leaves us on hold for an ungodly amount of time, only for the call to prematurely drop. There are so many examples both common and unique to our individual lives. The trouble begins when we form the habit of responding to everything — particularly negative stimuli. By doing this, our mental peace is disrupted and diverted making us slaves to whatever happens to happen. Much like the plant bending towards sunlight, we oftentimes react and lean into whatever is happening around us. Now take that concept and multiply it by the number of things that can happen in a day, week, or month. What happens to you mentally with so many emotional pivots?

For me, the result is: Restlessness. Anxiety. Sleepness. Mindless Eating. Everything besides peace of mind.

Much like the plant bending towards sunlight, we oftentimes react and lean into whatever is happening around us.

Earlier this year, something pretty trivial happened to me. I'm sure this has happened to you at some point in your life also. I was walking through a door and, as I always do, glanced back and held the door longer and wider than normal for the person coming behind me. My gracious gesture was met with silence — no thank you, no smile, not even a nod. I remember being so annoyed at this travesty of justice. How dare they not acknowledge me and thank me for holding the door? After all, I didn't have to do it. I know I spent the next few hours thinking about it and probably even texted a few friends so that they could join in on my rant and tell me how right I was to be upset. In hindsight, I should not have allowed this pretty petty thing to occupy my mind and heart, but I did. I let it shake my peace.

I've since taken some classes on mindfulness and what I've learned (and I'm still learning) is the art of being aware — being aware of the present and my feelings. Recognizing when I'm triggered towards annoyance or anger gives me the opportunity to take a step back to understand why and assess whether it deserves my attention and energy. We're all human and having emotions is part of the deal but as mindful adults, it's critically important to choose what you're going to care about and let everything else pass along. There are several tools on the market to help with this but the Headspace app has really helped me in my mindfulness journey. The lessons are guided and coupled with some pretty cute animations.

Recognizing when I'm triggered towards annoyance or anger gives me the opportunity to take a step back to understand why and assess whether it deserves my attention and energy.

Over the course of the next week, I'd like to challenge you to pay more attention to your reactions. How aware are you of how you allow your environment to affect you? Are you highly reactive? Do you ruminate for hours or even days on events that are insignificant in your life? If so, practicing a bit of mindfulness may be the way to go.