My blogging life has dropped off considerably so apologies to those of you who have been waiting for a post!
Much has been happening and often, the same issues recur over and over again.
One of the recurring issues I have seen as ongoing, is the lack of professionalism when it comes to social media.
But Susan, someone is going to say, social media isn't meant to be professional!
Ah, but APPROACH means everything!
Approaching a professional in the business is requesting a moment of their TIME. And in that moment, you might be requesting their time to enquire about their services, or a question that will take their time. Just because they are on Facebook or Twitter or any platform that gives you access to their profile, does not mean you should approach with a casual flair.
Social media is a double-edged sword. It makes us accessible, but it also seems to eliminate personal boundary.
HOW you approach someone in the business reveals more about YOU than it does about them.
Before you just start messaging someone, stop for a second and figure out exactly what you want to say and why you want to say it.
Be respectful. If your time is valuable, so is theirs!
If you are asking a professional question, don't assume a freebie. Any professional's time is worth something. They determine that worth, not you.
Figure out how that professional wants to be contacted. Social media? Via their website? Via phone? If you aren't sure, ask. When in doubt, an email is often the most respectful, as it allows the person you are contacting to get back to you in their own time; it also shows you have taken the time to find their website, discover their contact information and made an initial enquiry, instead of just pm-ing them via their Facebook page.
I often get inquiries via FB and simply send the link to my website and request they email me once they have read through. Most inquiries then come through the channels I prefer and can deal with effectively. If they don't, then the inquiry was not that serious.
If you are asking for a professional's time and expertise, don't assume they are going to be your "friend" or "peer" in the asking. Every professional I know has worked hard to develop their expertise, and that isn't for free. They are not simply going to meet you for coffee to talk about your career when you are someone unknown to them. You are saying "but Susan, nobody does THAT!" Oh yes, they do my sweet snowflakes, yes they do.
A professional's time is worth whatever they decide it is worth. If you are seeking out their TIME in relation to their expertise, then you are approaching said professional, with professionalism.
Many of us are more than willing to go the extra mile to help you, if we see what you are willing to do, how professional you are behaving, if your talk matches your walk, if you truly are looking to develop your knowledge, your craft, your career.
Most of us have a fairly strong bullshit detector. This allows us to see and discern quickly. We have to. This is something YOU must develop too.
So, how do you develop this professionalism and etiquette even if you are green in your craft and/or in the business?
A few things to consider:
1. Approach with respect, and ask for clarification if you are unsure.
2. Do NOT assume. Ask. Request.
3. Know who you are approaching. Do your research.
4. Know what you are requesting.
5. Follow up, follow up, follow up!
It's not rocket science, and should be common sense, but even that is lacking these days.
A professional in ANY business will respond more favorably to someone who approaches them WITH professionalism.
Your behavior toward someone reveals more than you know. That you have complete control over. Don't feign "but I didn't know". Find out.
Simply treat others the way you would want to be treated.
Behavior is as behavior does.
Your professionalism is revealed through your BEHAVIOR not your resume.
Susan Eichhorn Young covers all things voice—strong and sophisticated singing and speaking.
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