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Digital Manners and Online Professionalism

  |  December 21, 2011   |  Comments

Can you imagine the work we could get done if we all communicated with a tad more finesse?

I remember being 5 years old and learning from my mother that you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. Of course the lesson here being that you are bound to have more successes when dealing with people by showing kindness and sincerity. Unfortunately today it seems too commonplace that people lack manners and consequently little professionalism. This lack of courtesy in business is hurting the bottom line - all of our bottom lines!

For some time now it has been normal behavior within industry to begin emails with "Hi" and sign off with a "Thanks!" But this practice is even starting to fall by the wayside; it's a digital faux pas that really burns my biscuit. What does this say about the business that we do with one another? If we cannot take the extra step to show this bit of kindness in our emails, how can we effectively evolve as an industry? What if we actually took it one step further and expressed kindness to show that we actually do care about the campaigns we run. Let's take a look at how Webster's defines "manners":

  • a characteristic or customary mode of acting
  • social conduct or rules of conduct as shown in the prevalent customs
  • habitual conduct or deportment
  • a distinguished or stylish air

Now let's look at how Webster's defines "professionalism":

  • the conduct, aims, or qualities that characterize or mark a profession or a professional person 
  • the following of a profession (as athletics) for gain or livelihood

Just reading those definitions makes you want to aspire to conduct business more carefully, doesn't it? Of all the digital faux pas not having manners and professionalism has to be the worst. Other digital faux pas such as having a new member join the team and failing to introduce this person or explain their function, canceling a calendar invite without an explanation or a new proposed time, or sending emails without a signature are irritating, but not as long lasting as a lack of manners and professionalism. Personally, when I deal with people, I would rather them show some kind of professionalism than not. Not only that, but you are more likely for myself and my team to go above and beyond if you communicate with manners and courtesy. The better we work together, the better chances we have to increase profitability for everyone involved.

I'm sure I am not alone here. Can you imagine the work we could get done if we all communicated with a tad more finesse? Can you imagine our industry where professionalism is so prevalent they write books around the Online Marketing Conduct Code? Take that extra step to get the best work out of your teams; take that extra step to improve your bottom line.



Colin McShane

Colin McShane, senior strategist at Zeta Interactive has held marketing and client services positions in both entertainment and online marketing companies since 2002. Currently designing and running the Online Marketing strategies for a number of clients, Colin maintains a strong focus on ROI while providing a low CPA across verticals. Colin's close attention to detail and focus on building strong relationships with his clients continues to be his core competency.

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