Online Etiquette 101: Discretion

Last Update: November 21, 2014

Discretion: the quality of behaving or speaking in such a way as to avoid causing offence or revealing private information.

Have tact before you have to retract!

The Wealthy Affiliate community is a diversely educated and experienced group of business professionals. The community retains that status reflective in it's member's professionalism, success and fulfillment of the open-ended education platform.

As a community we are constantly growing, changing, evolving and innovatively "leading the pack". Saying goodbye to great contributing members and hello to newcomers on a regular basis. Each with their unique perspective and potential.

There are no boundaries....professionally speaking.

That being said....Wealthy Affiliate is an eclectic culture of individuals that bring with them an array of valuable life and business skill sets to share within the supportive network. To help each and every one of us learn and succeed with an innovative outline of education and tasks.

Members are encouraged to ask questions in the appropriate classrooms, submit relevant (to building a business online) blogs and lessons, ask the community for reviews on their masterpieces, and share learning material that helps the members of the community succeed at building a business online.

These responses can be valuable and uplifting in their content; teaching, encouraging and building confidence.

But...unfortunately, they can also bring offense and personal attacks as well.

Within any diverse community there will always be differences of opinions, experiences and reactions. How we handle ourselves "professionally" in conflicting debates online can influence many aspects of our networking success.

That is what I would like to address in this article....

What is the "key" to effectively avoiding any "personal" conflict in the professional online business world?

and....

What is the difference between " a professional" and "a personal" response or blog on the community platform? Where do we draw the line?

Professional

Is any topic business related, career oriented, and the education required to succeed. Provide the resources available and the relatable experiences, opinions and tools that apply to the request of a member.

We love to pay-it-forward!

Personal

Personal has a much broader spectrum when writing, networking and educating online....it is difficult too draw that line.

In Network Marketing we build authority based on our 'personal' opinions, experiences, contributions and reviews. We create a following by sharing our relatabl opinions, useful knowledge and supportive comments.

Being personable allows us to be relatable to our like-minded community members, customers and followers.

That is a core standard....people must find you polite, considerate, reasonable, knowledgable, and personable to want to do business with you, learn from you and refer you to clients, co-workers, family and friends.

So, what are the boundaries?

Well, in the professional world there is unwritten or unspoken etiquette:

...Do not curse, swear or slander

...Do not discuss Religion

...Do not debate Politics

...Do not share health issues

...Do not exploit private matters in a public forum

...Do not break the laws of the land

...Do not show your weakness, always lead with your best foot

...Leave your ego at the door, emotions are a sign of weakness in the boardroom

...And..always, always, always get your facts straight before you get on your soapbox!!

So when we blog and respond regarding any of the above mentioned topics we are stepping outside of our professional etiquette. We are inviting the community into your personal life and opinions and you must be prepared for any kind of response.

...Most will not acknowledge. ..that is not what they are here to learn and do

...The angels among us willl offer moral support and blessings

...Some will hit the 'like' button

....And one or two may bluntly challenge you or insult your opinions

But ultimately you are responsible for your own personal and professional conduct. If you put it out there...you must be personally and professionally accountable and be prepared to rebut and 'Own ' your opinion.

Our peer's opinions and reactions to us are valuable to our professional developement and personal confidence...it can also distract you from getting your work done and moving ahead.

Our Unique Community

The worldly experiences, lifestyles and opinions of the Wealthy Affiliate community is what makes it the success that it is.

Have common equal respect for each and every member and it will most certainly be returned.

Be respectful of your own professional image;

....pick your battles wisely

....do not respond to hurtful personal opinions with spiteful knee-jerk reactions.

...if you can't find something professional to say, then simply say " Thank you for your opinion"....and DON'T hit their like button....that can speak volumes in itself.

Your Personal Arena

Your 'personal' arena is YOUR WEBSITE! That is your very own venue to share your personal opinions and experiences, stand on your soapbox, build your authority and following on your own terms and conditions. To be as personal as you wish.

Just because you may not agree with someone's perspective or opinion does not mean that you have to create debate in an open forum. It is much more productive and professional to move on to your work, website and building your business.

Becoming personally invested in someone else's problem and experience should be a positive for both parties...being negative will only create a ripple effect of negative results. Consider the reactions and feelings of not only the recipient but also the community and Kyle and Carson's level of professionalism.

Wealthy Affiliate University

Wealthy Affiliate is Kyle and Carson's platform for professional development and success. You will never witness either of them comment, speak or blog (unless it was super special news) about their personal feelings, lifestyle or opinions. They always handle every aspect on a professional level and operate their business as professional teachers in the classroom.

They lead by example!

The Wealthy Affiliate platform offers a "private message" tab....if there is a private or personal issue that you want to discuss with another member...or a concern you want to discuss with Kyle and Carson....the 'private message' is the appropriate, professional and private area to discuss and resolve your matters.

Plus+....if you would like to not "follow" a certain member for whatever reason.....you can simply tab the "follow" button and it will "unfollow" that member's contributions.

Discretion

Discretion is "the key" to avoiding personal conflicts online...and in the real world as well. Think before you post, speak or share. Offering constructive resolutions instead of insensitive opinions is a much more effective way to be professional and gain trust and respect in the community.

If you are questioning your own response or opinion, are unsure if you will be understood, then do not hit that 'submit' button. Spare yourself the shame and embarrassment that may reflect on your online persona.

Ask yourself if you are proud of that opinion...does it have value to the community and is it discreet enough to not offend anybody.

Discretion allows all members to express themselves in an uplifting and positive environment. We all benefit as a community when we work together and share in the challenge and resolve the problem.

Discretion is a form of compassion and willingness to be understanding. It reflects that 'you care' how you are perceived. It reflects respect for yourself, your own professional image, and the respect of Wealthy Affiliate members and Kyle and Carson's legacy.

Mother used to say...." Unless you have something helpful or nice to say, say nothing at all!"

Sunshiny smiles to All....Amanda

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KLewis Premium
Excellent post, Amanda.
Very well put.You hit some high key points.Ken
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wootten Premium
So glad you enjoyed it Ken!
Sunshiny smiles from Amanda
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Funmine Premium
Wise words from your mom, Amanda!

I can use some sunshine over here. Blessings to you.
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wootten Premium
Sending some sunshine from the west coast! Thankyou for your kind reply....please enjoy your weekend...keep warm and cozy!
Sunshiny smiles from Amanda
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jonw Premium
Hi again smiley sis. Thank You for your excellent post, one that is so needed. One thing though, don't expect ME to be stuffy or impersonal,
can't do it, not happening, no way no how.(((-:

OK Amanda, serious for just a bit- I once did get into a bit of a dispute with someone here(my fault mainly, I admit) I learned much from that unpleasant experience. I apologized, forgave and moved on.

Empathy being key to effectively dealing with people, I practice it thoroughly now, not perfectly mind you, but I do my best.

Again thanks for 'putting it out there' plainly, clearly, and empathetically, you are a joy to know.(-: J
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wootten Premium
Empathy....great word!
Its all a great learning experience....so glad you took the time to show support! Enjoy your weekend!
Sunshiny smiles from Amanda
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GwynnGriffin Premium
Just a quick note, Jon: I really enjoy finding your comments here in this great WA place! You are a thoughtful, kind and valuable contributor who has quickly gained high regard and respect from this particular redhead =] Thanks again for your spirit. All goodness always, Gwynn
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jonw Premium
Thank you Dearest Gwynn. You can take this from my heart, the feelings are most mutual. If you are also on G+ please look me up there, I peeked the other night and was unsure. My pic is the same for branding, name is Jon Wright. (-: XX J
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GwynnGriffin Premium
I'll look you up for sure, Jon! I'm just trying to catch up on a week's worth of comments after being away. Can't wait to know you better! What a beautiful man... Gg
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jonw Premium
Ah... shucks Gg...you're makin me blush...quit it (((-; XXX J
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dhayman Premium
Very well spoken Amanda. When not to speak or get involved is just as discerning as a well spoken reply.
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wootten Premium
Thankyou for the compliment. ..so glad it is well recieved!
Enjoy your weekend
Sunshiny smiles from Amanda
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BobBarr Premium
I've found that, when I want to express an opinion differs significantly from that of the person I'm responding to; it's very helpful to post a quote with a link to an article that supports my assertion. (I love your profile picture, by the way.)
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wootten Premium
That is a great resolution Bob...finding ways to avoid offence or misinterpretation can be challenging...great tip.
Thankyou so much for positive input...much appreciated

Profile pic.....i am just "over the moon" with it...needless to say i was excited to update with that image! So glad you like it!

Sunshiny smiles from Amanda
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