Protect your reputation

 It can take 20 years to build a reputation
for character and five minutes to ruin it.
─Warren Buffet

Online behavior ranges from social networking sites to opinionated blogs. Off-duty behavior ranges from social gatherings to peer-focused bashes. When people are preoccupied with having fun, or when they are stressed, they can get very careless with their behavior and consequently damage their reputation along with the reputation of others. This damage is too often irreversible.

Ask yourself before you indulge: Is your behavior mean-spirited, damaging, or annoying? How do you want to be discussed among your management team, among your peers, among your clients, and your family and friends?” Behave accordingly!

Seven tips to keep you on the right reputation track.

  1. Make sure your behavior complements the company’s image and reputation. Your behavior is a reflection of the company you represent, whether the behavior takes place at a cocktail reception, informal gathering, or on a social networking site.
  2. Do not share confidential information. This is most often a risk when drinking alcoholic beverages. Furthermore, the person with whom you are sharing could work for the competition or know someone who works for the competition or worst yet … the media!
  3. Anything on the web can be cut, pasted, and/or forwarded. If you are a disgruntled employee or have issues with others, social networking sites are no place to vent. Your damaging opinion or remarks become public information (or recorded facts). Do not say anything that you would not want the world to know.
  4. Demonstrate your opinion or views appropriately! It is important to support causes and get your point across. However, it is just as important to be mindful of how your behavior is captured on video for the world to remember.
  5. Be mindful of your reaction to disappointments. If your behavior is obnoxious, and the name of the company you represent is visible on your clothing or belongings, it can communicate to others what type of employee your company hires. It could be an employment risk!
  6. Watch your language. It is probably the first thing that gets out of hand. When people get stressed, they can get careless and use offensive language. This is the first sign that you are out of control.
  7. You are never not seen in today’s social media world! Everybody and everything can get captured for the world to see.

There are numerous books written about mean-spirited, damaging, or annoying behavior. A valued colleague of mine, Cynthia Lett, offers great examples in her book, “That’s So Annoying: An Etiquette Expert on the World’s Most Irritating Habits and What to Do About Them.”  

My book series, “The Art of Professional Connections,” offers insights and strategies to protect professional behavior in a wide range of situations that help you sidestep reputation-damaging situations. (Available soft cover and eBook at


Your Reputation is
Your Most Valuable Asset

How do you protect your reputation online and off-duty?

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