Avoid this Stupid Mistake #2 Use a Tone You Haven’t Earned

Here’s the situation:  In my role of managing editor for an association magazine, I received a recommendation.  “One of our members made $100,000 dollars off one blog entry, my source said.  Get him to write an article.”  I contacted the member and requested an article that shared nuts and bolts of blogging as well as the story of his experience. 

The member e-mailed the article I requested.  I shocked to find that the tone of the article was arrogant and in-your-face.  Basically, it said, “this is what I’ve accomplished with blogging—why aren’t you blogging and getting these results?”  

Here’s the stupid mistake:  The tone this writer used reminded me of the voice of, Jeffrey Gitomer, whose syndicated column you may have read.  Gitomer is always in-your-face, and he’s quite successful.  In fact, Gitomer is well-loved within the association in question. 

The difference was that the author of the article on blogs is in his twenties, and his reputation is not established.  He didn’t provide helpful information to my readers, and he hadn’t earned the right to take a caustic tone.   

I may have asked for the article, but as an editor, I was under no obligation to publish it—and I didn’t. 

Here’s the solution:  When you have the opportunity to contribute as an expert, do so in a personable and humble way.  Provide real value that people can grab onto and use in practical ways.  Just because Jeffrey Gitomer or Donald Trump can get in people’s faces, don’t assume that you have the same right.  This is something very few people can get away with.  Those who can have earned the right.   

Stick with the old adage: you’ll get more flies with honey than vinegar.  If you ignore it, you might just have to eat some version of humble pie.


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