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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3 min read

Help! My Friend Is a No Show

Email armchairpsychologist@swaaymedia.com to get the advice you need!

Help! My Friend Is a No Show

Dear Armchair Psychologist,

I have a friend who doesn't reply to my messages about meeting for dinner, etc. Although, last week I ran into her at a local restaurant of mine, it has always been awkward to be friends with her. Should I continue our friendship or discontinue it? We've been friends for a total four years and nothing has changed. I don't feel as comfortable with her as my other close friends, and I don't think I'll ever be able to reach that comfort zone in pure friendship.


Dear Sadsies,

I am sorry to hear you've been neglected by your friend. You may already have the answer to your question, since you're evaluating the non-existing bond between yourself and your friend. However, I'll gladly affirm to you that a friendship that isn't reciprocated is not a good friendship.

I have had a similar situation with a friend whom I'd grown up with but who was also consistently a very negative person, a true Debby Downer. One day, I just had enough of her criticism and vitriol. I stopped making excuses for her and dumped her. It was a great decision and I haven't looked back. With that in mind, it could be possible that something has changed in your friend's life, but it's insignificant if she isn't responding to you. It's time to dump her and spend your energy where it's appreciated. Don't dwell on this friend. History is not enough to create a lasting bond, it only means just that—you and your friend have history—so let her be history!

- The Armchair Psychologist

Need more armchair psychologist in your life? Check out the last installment or emailarmchairpsychologist@swaaymedia.com to get some advice of your own!