Stop! Don’t hit send…

Don’t hit send…yet! The impression you leave could be a long and lasting one. Do you want to brand yourself as professional, intelligent, mature, patient, considerate and understanding? Although those managing an executive career would share a resounding “yes”, too many are taking a high risk with online comments which could be construed as arrogant, antagonistic or lacking compassion and professionalism.

Today we are sharing comments with hundreds, thousands and potentially millions of people! It is true that our enthusiasm sometimes gets the better of us but it is during these times that you must take your fingers off the keyboard! Walk away, take a deep breath and enjoy a cup of green tea.  Heightened emotional states do not present a foundation conducive to presenting a professional personal brand.

A recent thread of numerous comments on Facebook had one individual standing out from all the rest. Approximately 10 people shared complimentary, friendly, light comments regarding a photo but one individual chose to post accusatory, insulting, rude comments using inappropriate language. The intended recipient certainly gained my respect when he simply ignored her unfounded and unnecessary comments. If an employer was able to view this profile, it would be a very easy decision to eliminate the obvious troublemaker from a list of potential candidates for hire.

Standing behind your values, morals and opinions is acceptable unless you feel the need to initiate an offensive online diatribe with someone who disagrees. A conversation which continues on long past any chance of a reasonable conclusion or mutual agreement may only impact a few, whereas online you could be leaving a permanent, negative impression that will be seen by hundreds, thousands or even more! Don’t comment back and forth to the extent that you have exhausted a topic. Agree to disagree or simply let it go! Any professional, social interactions entered into online require respect and should never reach the “I’m right and you’re wrong” stage.

Offering advice can be seen as thoughtful, giving, generous and further enhance the expertise and professionalism of a personal brand but a recent Linkedin discussion easily portrayed an individual as anything but, when the advice offered contained more personally directed negative criticism than it did positive advice.

Think positive, think professional and give serious consideration to the personal brand you wish to establish. Online comments have the potential to increase your visibility and your opportunities! One bad day and a few emotional or negative comments could easily tarnish an otherwise impressive personal brand and eliminate you from consideration as the next CEO or VP! Don’t hit send until you are sure the comment you are posting is appropriate and professional!

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