Making first contact-- how to ask someone for help

Hi Everyone,

This is a post for new members. Lately I've been approached by people asking for help. Unfortunately, they seem to treat my email inbox like a chat window and I find that really irritating.

I thought I'd just write a post that people could refer to that explains a little bit about the etiquette of cold calling someone for the first time... especially native English speakers.

1. read the profile.
Don't contact someone whose profile you haven't read. If you saw a picture you liked and are feeling a little lonely, at least do someone the courtesy of reading their profile.

It makes a really bad impression to start a conversation with someone, and ask them all the questions that are answered in their profile-- you come off as lazy, and arrogant.

2. introduce yourself.
An email inbox on a service like this is not a chat window. Messages like "hello" are actually irritating to the point of being rude.

The polite thing to do is to introduce who you are, where you're from, and then indicate why you're making contact.

An example might be:

"Dear (xxxxxxx),

My name is (xxxxx) and I saw your profile while browsing the Frankfurt page. It seems we are in a similar area. I noticed that you're keeping a blog. I read a couple of entries and enjoyed them.

I am getting married later this year, and I would like to know......."

You've started the conversation politely with "dear"
You indicated where you saw the profile
You have done a little reading of the profile
And you introduced your question.

Questions that come from nowhere are almost impossible to answer. I can't tell you the application process for a Pakistani national for a German university, because I'm Australian and I don't know if its different. I can't talk to you about sightseeing in Berlin, because my closest city is Frankfurt (this is all information which is readily available on my profile... hence point number 1. read the profile.

3. explain why you're making contact
Unsolicited contact from men makes me uncomfortable. Men who only have female contacts makes me even more uncomfortable. Men who ignore points 1 and 2 will probably get ignored.

Remember that its not other people's job to find out how to solve your problem. They are helping you because they have the time, and might have some relevant experience.

Most of the people who have already found things out, found them out the hard way by researching online, making the relevant phone calls, and politely contacting people.

Consider these two questions:
a)"Can you tell me about studying in Germany?"

b)"I would like to know more about Australian nationals studying in Germany. Have you considered studying yourself? I'm interested in your local area. If you've made some inquiries and learned anything about the application process, I'd really appreciate if you would be able to share some information with me.

I am interested in studying teaching or engineering, and I noticed that you are a teacher and your fiancé is an engineer. I've got my undergraduate degree as a engineering teacher, but would like to do a masters. If you're not able to help me at this point I really understand."

There's just no information to go off with question (a). Its impossible to answer. I don't know where you're from, what you want. And chances are I'll probably stumble across your profile and realise you aren't even from the same origin country as me, so you're probably not subject to the same application process.

4. if you just want to make friends, say so!
I've contacted many people just to say I liked their profile, thought we had some things in common, and that I'd like to be friends with them.

This is the correct thing to do before friend requesting someone.

Its impolite to just friend request someone without any kind of contact. And its incredibly rude to friend request someone without having read their profile.

Just send a friendly, short email introducing yourself and saying what you think you'd have in common with the person. After that, ask if they would like to make a network connection. Its that easy.

I really hope this helps people make better contact. I'll certainly be referring people back to this forum post in future.

Have a great day people!

Hello missbeesy,

Wow, so much good old fashioned common sense in just one place! Rare these days.

Now lets hope that what you've written here doesn't fall of deaf ears. Wonderful topic posting, keep them coming. We need high calibre contributors here.

Cheers,
William James Woodward, EB Experts Team

Just a reminder for all of those who are using our Private Message System to make contacts and networking....

DO NOT SEND OUT COPY & PASTE MESSAGES TO SEVERAL MEMBERS



Doing this will get your message privileges locked out by our Automated Anti-Spam System. Your messages should be individualized, not mere copies sent to everybody.

Thanks William,

I appreciate it might be a cultural thing, but I really felt it needed to be spelt out for some of the users contacting me recently.

Have a great day,
missb.

Excellent post, thanks!
I'll recommend this to be made sticky - on the Germany forum or even on one of the general ones, since I believe the topic to be universal.

Hi missb and thansk for your post.

Please don't forget that you can hit the report anytime if you encounter any inappropriate behaviour/ content.

Regards
Armand
Expat.com Team

Wow!!!

Great post indeed and I support the idea of Beppi.
If people do bother read profiles I had 95% less contact request by male :D or unsolicited messages to "know" me better.

thats cool..and makes sense

missbeesy :

Its impolite to just friend request someone without any kind of contact. And its incredibly rude to friend request someone without having read their profile.

A practical guideline for people living in a fast world. If people could be more mindful what they were doing, social relationships might be conducted more easily.

balyapmayanari :
missbeesy :

Its impolite to just friend request someone without any kind of contact. And its incredibly rude to friend request someone without having read their profile.

A practical guideline for people living in a fast world. If people could be more mindful what they were doing, social relationships might be conducted more easily.

This is a very old thread now and the forum's terms and conditions have been upgraded since it was started.
Multiple messages now trigger a spam filter that cuts off the offender's ability to send PMs.
This is only regained when that member becomes a useful and helpful member of the forum, and that's an automatic system.

Dear Madam,


I would like to introduce myself. My name is Amine Si Saber and I am currently working for Majid Al Futaim Carrefour Middle East as an area sales manager.


I gained experience in different departments, but I focussed on Customer Service and Sales because my first passion is the customer satisfaction. My native languages are French and Arabic, as I am fluent in English too. I would love to learn German as well once I will start my Career in Germany.


My fiancée is German living in Hamburg and I'm planning to join her over there, but it seems to be extremely hard for me to find a job while I am here in Oman, and I just thought you can help me to find something and I'm ready to start from the bottom again as I did before, from one side, to be able to learn German, and from another side, to stay close to the women I love.



I am extremely sorry for the long mail I've sent you, and I would highly appreciate if you take this mail on consideration.


Looking forward your reply, hopefully positive.


Warm Regards,
Amine Si Saber

Dear Amine,

Although I don‘t know who is the „Madam“ you address your message to (the OP of this thread stopped being active here three years ago), I will reply to it.
First, welcome to the forum - and to Germany once you make the move!
Thanks for introducing yourself here, which is a good start! The forum is meant for an open exchange of experiences and advice about expat life in Germany. So you are welcome to post your questions and hopefully later contribute to answer others‘.
This forum is NOT meant for job search (only discussions about how to look for a job, of which there are plenty that you should read!), dating or commercial activities.
Good luck!

Beppi

P.S.: it is extremely difficult to find a job here from abroad and without language skills. My advice: Marry her first, attend a German class  and get a family reunion visa (incl. work permit) and start applying once you are here!

This site is for advice. Nobody is going to find you a job. How should they even if they wanted to? And it is naive to think you will find a good job and then begin to learn German. For nearly all good jobs you will first have to become competent in the language. That you already speak a number of languages might be of some help but not much until you also learn German.

You should learning German while you still in Oman to increase your chances.

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