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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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7min read
Culture

The Middle East And North Africa Are Brimming With Untapped Female Potential

Women of the Middle East have made significant strides in the past decade in a number of sectors, but huge gaps remain within the labor market, especially in leadership roles.


A huge number of institutions have researched and quantified trends of and obstacles to the full utilization of females in the marketplace. Gabriela Ramos, is the Chief-of-Staff to The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), an alliance of thirty-six governments seeking to improve economic growth and world trade. The OECD reports that increasing participation in the women's labor force could easily result in a $12 trillion jump in the global GDP by the year 2025.

To realize the possibilities, attention needs to be directed toward the most significantly underutilized resource: the women of MENA—the Middle East and North African countries. Educating the men of MENA on the importance of women working and holding leadership roles will improve the economies of those nations and lead to both national and global rewards, such as dissolving cultural stereotypes.

The OECD reports that increasing participation in the women's labor force could easily result in a $12 trillion jump in the global GDP by the year 2025.

In order to put this issue in perspective, the MENA region has the second highest unemployment rate in the world. According to the World Bank, more women than men go to universities, but for many in this region the journey ends with a degree. After graduating, women tend to stay at home due to social and cultural pressures. In 2017, the OECD estimated that unemployment among women is costing some $575 billion annually.

Forbes and Arabian Business have each published lists of the 100 most powerful Arab businesswomen, yet most female entrepreneurs in the Middle East run family businesses. When it comes to managerial positions, the MENA region ranks last with only 13 percent women among the total number of CEOs according to the Swiss-based International Labor Organization (ILO.org publication "Women Business Management – Gaining Momentum in the Middle East and Africa.")

The lopsided tendency that keeps women in family business—remaining tethered to the home even if they are prepared and capable of moving "into the world"—is noted in a report prepared by OECD. The survey provides factual support for the intuitive concern of cultural and political imbalance impeding the progression of women into the workplace who are otherwise fully capable. The nations of Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Libya, Jordan and Egypt all prohibit gender discrimination and legislate equal pay for men and women, but the progressive-sounding checklist of their rights fails to impact on "hiring, wages or women's labor force participation." In fact, the report continues, "Women in the six countries receive inferior wages for equal work… and in the private sector women rarely hold management positions or sit on the boards of companies."

This is more than a feminist mantra; MENA's males must learn that they, too, will benefit from accelerating the entry of women into the workforce on all levels. Some projections of value lost because women are unable to work; or conversely the amount of potential revenue are significant.

Elissa Freiha, founder of Womena, the leading empowerment platform in the Middle East, emphasizes the financial benefit of having women in high positions when communicating with men's groups. From a business perspective it has been proven through the market Index provider MSCI.com that companies with more women on their boards deliver 36% better equity than those lacking board diversity.

She challenges companies with the knowledge that, "From a business level, you can have a potential of 63% by incorporating the female perspective on the executive team and the boards of companies."

Freiha agrees that educating MENA's men will turn the tide. "It is difficult to argue culturally that a woman can disconnect herself from the household and community." Her own father, a United Arab Emirates native of Lebanese descent, preferred she get a job in the government, but after one month she quit and went on to create Womena. The fact that this win-lose situation was supported by an open-minded father, further propelled Freiha to start her own business.

"From a business level, you can have a potential of 63% by incorporating the female perspective on the executive team and the boards of companies." - Elissa Frei

While not all men share the open-mindedness of Freiha's dad, a striking number of MENA's women have convincingly demonstrated that the talent pool is skilled, capable and all-around impressive. One such woman is the prominent Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid bin Sultan Al-Qasimi, who is currently serving as a cabinet minister in the United Arab Emirates and previously headed a successful IT strategy company.

Al-Qasimi exemplifies the potential for MENA women in leadership, but how can one example become a cultural norm? Marcello Bonatto, who runs Re: Coded, a program that teaches young people in Turkey, Iraq and Yemen to become technology leaders, believes that multigenerational education is the key. He believes in the importance of educating the parent along with their offspring, "particularly when it comes to women." Bonatto notes the number of conflict-affected youth who have succeeded through his program—a boot camp training in technology.

The United Nations Women alongside Promundo—a Brazil-based NGO that promotes gender-equality and non-violence—sponsored a study titled, "International Men and Gender Equality Survey of the Middle East and North Africa in 2017."

This study surveyed ten thousand men and women between the ages of 18 and 59 across both rural and urban areas in Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco and the Palestinian Authority. It reports that, "Men expected to control their wives' personal freedoms from what they wear to when the couple has sex." Additionally, a mere one-tenth to one-third of men reported having recently carried out a more conventionally "female task" in their home.

Although the MENA region is steeped in historical tribal culture, the current conflict of gender roles is at a crucial turning point. Masculine power structures still play a huge role in these countries, and despite this obstacle, women are on the rise. But without the support of their nations' men this will continue to be an uphill battle. And if change won't come from the culture, maybe it can come from money. By educating MENA's men about these issues, the estimated $27 trillion that women could bring to their economies might not be a dream. Women have been empowering themselves for years, but it's time for MENA's men to empower its women.