Monday, March 30, 2009

Professionalism Can Make You or Break You

It's rare that we have a quiet Monday here at Pix-N-Pens, but when I saw nothing on the schedule, I jumped at the opportunity to share what's been on my heart the last few weeks.

Professionalism. It's a must in any business, and lately I've experienced some very unprofessional attitudes, so it's time to discuss. I hope you'll share your experiences with us in the comments.

1) Answer business e-mails. I know we all get tons of junk mail, tons of personal mail, and tons of business mail. But if you run a business - and writing/editing/publishing IS a business - you must answer your business mail.

Two weeks ago, I sent a professional letter to a business, requesting information about an upcoming event. After a few days, I hadn't received a response, so I sent a second letter to another person at another address I had for the company. I know the coordinators and they know me - we've actually met in person a few times. But both e-mails have gone ignored - even though I've seen one of the recipients on Facebook regularly the entire two weeks. Totally unprofessional. Not helping their business, their event, and not helping their reputation - at all.

2) When you send e-mails to strangers, or to distant acquaintances, introduce yourself.

Since I offer free three-page edits to potential editing clients, along with writing services for all types of writing, I regularly receive odd e-mails nowadays. Many of the e-mails offer no clue of what the person is wanting or needing - especially if they've sent me 100 pages, rather than three! I appreciate succinct letters, but not to the point I'm left clueless.

3) Be professional in your correspondence.

Twice, I've been less than professional myself when replying to writers. Both of these times were early in my career, and I'd followed these writers online for some time and felt I "knew" them well. But they didn't know me from Adam.

Both writers were offering opportunities for volunteer positions. The e-mails I sent were casual, friendly, and totally unprofessional. No wonder they offered the positions to someone else. Someone with more professionalism, and much more sense.

Presenting yourself unprofessionally gives you the mark of an amateur, regardless of how many years you've put in. Is that the image you want to convey?

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