When I "walked" around on this site :) I came across on a post from A Nice Lady (I assume) on the Germany forum about how to make the first contact or how to seek help. I was blown away by her post and I asked her if I can copy her post to this forum. With her permission I copy her post below.
I know for sure it is a very useful post and I hope you consider her tips and advise as useful too and to follow these tips.
To many times I get messages from mens without meaningful contents like : "Hi sweety" or "Call me on...." or requests without an introduction. To me it's very rude and impolite and I know that I am not the only one who experience this.
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....
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:
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.