Mentoring etiquette. Why giving thanks gets you more.

The point of is to help journalists grow and network. The goal is to help create mentoring relationships, since social media can eliminate the cut throat “this town is too small for us both” type of competition.  Basically, we hand out free advice and do it happily.  In return, I am getting really interesting insight into “netiquette.”

Overall I am finding Twitter to be a very polite “place.”  You see please and thank you’s despite the small character limit.  #FF is still used to show respect and gratitude.

Netiquette on Facebook gets more interesting despite having more room to write.  I see a lot less courtesy there when I peruse.  And not just for the survivetvnewsjobs account.  I notice it on my personal FB page as well.

Then there’s email.  I am surprised at the number of emails I receive asking for advice, that are replied to and then no follow up thank you.  So I checked with some other mentoring types.  They see the same pattern.  For those of you guilty as charged, so to speak, this is not an article admonishing you.  (Again, the premise of the website is to help.)  Instead, this article is a reminder that people who mentor, professionally and personally, like to know that taking the time out is appreciated.  Even more basic, we want to make sure when we replied, the email or DM actually went through.  We don’t want to be rude on our end of the equation either.  Replying lets us know it went through and we held up our end of the deal.

If you get great advice from a coworker or another journalist, make sure and say thank you.  Wait a few days and pull them aside or call and say thanks.  Better yet, put it in writing.  A note in their mailbox at work goes a long way.  Journalists especially appreciate something in writing.  It is rare for us to get and therefore noticed.  It does mean a lot.

This is another opportunity for you to gain an edge.  If you ask someone for advice, send thanks.  It can be a simple one sentence reply, or a quick two line handwritten note.  No one I talked with expects gushing (including me).  Since thank you notes are such a largely forgotten art, they go a long way.  I still have a short list in my head of all co-workers and interviewees that wrote me thank you notes.  It is a sign that the person is classy and respectful.  It shows that person can let bygones be bygones for a greater good.  When I get reference calls I make a point of telling the caller how classy these people are.  I say, these people wrote a thank you note when…  It is a tangible way to show that these people are worth taking a chance on.  They go the extra mile.  They are respectful and chances are high they will be great representatives for the station.  Others I have talked with say the same thing.  Respect breeds loyalty.

So when you ask for advice and get it, write a thank you.   It’s simple etiquette that could pay off in dividends for years.