Discovering a Story Everywhere

Archive for March, 2017

be ethical

It is very important for your reputation that you remain ethical as you network. This can make or break you in your business. Writing is more than just putting words to paper. It involves everything you do connected with your work. You need to be ethical at all times.

What Are Ethics?

Per Webster, ethics is “a set of moral principles.” It helps to guide between right and wrong. It helps you not make major mistakes that could you get in trouble.

People like those with ethics. Politicians who are not ethical get in trouble and can lose their careers. Same can be said about any profession. Ethics are that important. It can make the difference between success and failure.

Ethics is not equivalent to legality. You can do something legal and still be unethical. There can be a fine line between the two, but they are not necessarily the same.

Unethical Practices

There are many unethical practices. The best way to explore them is to look at examples.

I was the wife of a pastor when I was asked to become the church treasurer. They asked because I was the most qualified for the job with over a decade of being an accountant, but it was the fact that I was the pastor’s wife that made the act unethical. For me to have control of the church’s money wasn’t right. Was it illegal? No, but it put me in a position that would have allowed me to do something illegal and also could have cast suspicion on my actions even though they might have been good.

Should you judge a contest at your kid’s school if one of the contestants is your nephew? Technically, only the rules of the contest can dictate if you can or can’t, but ethically you shouldn’t. Even if you are fair, others might not see that.

Many times, ethics comes down to how suspicious it might to other people.

Question Yourself?

Ask yourself if you would feel right if you were someone else looking on the same actions you are about to take. Would it seem fair? Would it seem unbiased? Would it open doors for suspicion or temptation.

If you are unsure, ask a trusted friend. Once my husband was in a situation where he was not sure something he had to do was ethical. It had to be done, but he wanted to be above suspicion. So he asked a trusted and respected member of the community. They advised him and witnessed his action. When others looked on it, they were relieved that all the corners were covered.

Distance Yourself

If you see someone doing anything unethical, you do need to distance yourself from them. It’s that you are being mean or betraying someone. Reputations can easily be sullied just by casual association. If you work with someone on a project and that person is caught doing something unethical on it, you might be questioned as well. Others might look at your actions with a questionable eye.

Protect yourself.

Follow up with people

This is a basic business practice that you need to incorporate into your networking. Remember that your writing is a business. Following up with people helps to establish those networking connections and strengthens them.


Following up with people is basic etiquette. If someone contacts you, it is only polite to respond. If you sent them something, you follow up to make sure they got it or are enjoying it.

Don’t leave situations hanging. Follow up and make sure there are no misunderstandings. They might think that they need more information from you or that you need something from them. By following up, you eliminate any confusion that might exist that you are unaware of.

Ask Questions

When you follow up with people, ask questions. Ask how are they doing, do they need more information, how are they enjoying your book. It all depends on why you were in communication with them. I have asked someone in Florida a followup question about the hurricane that just past. That’s all you have to do – follow up with relevant questions.


Sometimes you have to follow up with an apology. When you follow up with an apology, it gets their attention. It shows that you see blame on yourself even if there might not be any need for. That makes them respond trying to reassure you that all is well and also opens up the communication doorway.

Anytime you interact with people, it is good to follow up. Ask how they are doing, how the test went, are they over the flu? By following up, you make those network connections stronger.

Be willing to talk about things you aren’t familiar with

Not everyone has the exact same interests as you. They don’t always want to talk only about what you like. To be successful in networking, it is important to be able to talk about things that you are not that familiar with.

It’s Not All About You

All discussions do not have to be on topics that you enjoy or are familiar with. It shouldn’t have to be that way because all you want to talk about are things that interest you. The world doesn’t revolve around you or you wouldn’t have to network. You need to let others know that you care about their interests and are willing to talk about them.

Learn Something New

It is always fun to learn about something new. In networking, you always have that opportunity. Let’s say that someone is talking about going fishing for the weekend. If you don’t know anything about fishing, now is your chance to find out. Ask them where they go, what kind of fish they are looking for, and their fishing methods.

Show them that you care about their interests. That will get their attention and have them talking to you. Before you know it, they’ll be asking you about your interests. If you want people to notice you, you have to notice them.

You might even find ideas to use in a future story by talking to them about their interests..

Consider it Research

As you network and ask people questions, consider it research for future stories. If you ask questions about fishing, make notes. You might have a scene where this will come in handy. Also, make notes on who you were talking to about this in case you need to ask more questions.

I do this even when I hear that someone is traveling to a place I have never been. I ask questions. They enjoy the fact that I am interested in what they are doing while I enjoy the fact that I’m filling up my resource notebook for future stories. It is great fun.

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