Everyone seems to be writing articles about professionalism
on the Internet lately. And, as much as I hate to conform
to "the norm," I feel compelled to do the same. Only, in THIS
article, I'll be telling it like it is ... no holds barred.
There are just some things you absolutely do NOT do in a
business relationship, and I'll be covering most of those.
Hopefully, the "offenders" will get a clue and stop destroying
their credibility and their image, and have some self-respect
... not to mention an inkling of respect for those of us that
So, here we go! START ACTING MORE PROFESSIONAL AND...
1. Stop cursing at me!
There's nothing more unprofessional than someone who sends
you an e-mail for the first time with various expletives in
the message. Nothing too "hard core," but still enough to
be offensive. And, you'll still have those that argue,
"I only 'talk' to people like that with whom I
Are you falling for that?? I don't care HOW comfortable a person
makes you feel, you don't disrespect them like that. We're not
your bar room buddies, so don't address us as if we were! I
find that offensive OFFline, so why would I accept it ONline?
2. Stop writing me without introducing yourself and, for
heaven's sake... tell me what you want!
"Yeah, I want to know ... Is this really free,
or is this a scam???"
Well, hello to you, too. What did you say your name was again?
And, is WHAT free? A job? My newsletter? WHAT??!
Am I the only one that gets e-mail like that?
This is THE most annoying thing you can do when sending business
e-mail. Or any e-mail, for that matter. Would you phone a company
and start firing questions or demands at them? I hope not. So
why would you do it to a business online? Give us that same
Introduce yourself when you're writing someone for the first
time, and explain EXACTLY what you're writing us FOR. And,
for goodness sakes, PLEASE use a subject line in your e-mail.
Don't just assume we'll know what you're writing about. If
you do, we'll probably "assume" that the e-mail is spam ...
and trash it.
3. Stop yelling at me!
"When I tried to submit an ad in your newsletter,
I got a 'not found' page. I'm TRYING to buy ads and I NEED
the correct URL! PLEASE ADVISE!!!!!!!!"
Ahem ... I guess this person thought I was SO money-hungry that
I would write him back, apologizing profusely for my ignorance,
and rush him the information that he needed without further
It wasn't my fault that the site he'd come from had linked
to my newsletter advertising page with an invalid URL. And
furthermore, I'm NEVER going to be that hard up for money
that I'd consider initiating business with someone so rude.
Forget that I'd be the one to benefit financially. I still
have my dignity and a strong sense of self. If you can't respect
that, then we WON'T be doing business!
So, what did I do? I deleted his e-mail, (something that
I never endorse), but I felt that the situation called for
it. Mind you, the letter was much worse than what I printed
above. Don't let people disrespect you. They think they can
treat us any way they please online, because they can remain
anonymous. And, don't feel powerless against this kind of
treatment either, because you CAN do something about it.
What? Choose not to do business with these "businessmen."
4. Go easy on the "Ebonics!"
When "the experts" say to be personal and casual in your
writing, they mean to stop sounding rigid, like you're writing
a research paper. They DO NOT mean that you should use words
like "ain't," "gonna," and "I dunno." Well ... maybe after
you can call that person your "cyber-friend."
This is still business, no matter how leisurely it can become.
Don't run the risk of sounding like you're fresh out of Junior
High. Instead, use contractions like "you're" instead of "you
are." "I'm" instead of "I am." But be careful not to overuse
slang. Not only is it unprofessional, but International business
colleagues may not have a clue what we're talking about. =)
And last, but DEFINITELY not least ...
5. Check your spelling!
"Theirs nothing moor anoying then someone who caint
spel on the webb."
Not only does this look like a third grader wrote it, but it
also clouds the message you're trying to get across. If we have
to fight through various spelling and grammatical errors, we'll
lose sight of what your message is trying to convey.
Have you ever noticed how s - l - o - w - l - y you have
to read something that doesn't make sense? By the time you
get to the end of the paragraph, you're sweating with effort,
and have forgotten what you were reading about in the first
My advice for spelling and grammar goof-ups?
Keep these people OFFLINE -- or simply get an e-mail program
that can spellcheck your message before you send it out. There's
less of a chance that you'll have to suffer through one of
their misspelled outpourings.
Those are my five rants for the week. I hope I've helped to
clear up at least a small percentage of the amateurism that's
running rampant on the Internet these days. But ... probably
not. Those people probably skipped this article when they
read the title!
Oh well <...sigh...> 'Guess I'll have to try again
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