Basic Professional Behavior 101

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Beam & Branch Realty TREC #547752

I have been attending our state association winter meeting these past few days and have been making some mental notes. We all know that ONE person in business meetings who likes to ask an over-abundance of questions. Recently, I am witnessing an uptick in rude and unprofessional behavior.

As a presenter and speaker in various roles outside of this association, I am writing this post on behalf of all of those who take the time to prepare and present. Placing yourself on the podium is not easy and requires hours of preparation. I hope these tips will resonate and help remind us all of the professional decorum we need to hold in the highest regard.

  • LISTEN: While this sounds like an easy task, too many attendees in any audience are too busy on their devices or talking with a colleague. In turn, they are missing key points and distracting other attendees.
  • EYE CONTACT: Speakers like to know that the audience is engaged with them. While yes, there will be times when the presentation is not up to par, however, this does not give attendees the right to be rude.
  • BE STILL: What I mean by this is, if you are in rows of chairs, unnecessary movement, tapping your foot on the chair in front of you, organizing your purse, etc. are extremely distracting to all in attendance. 
  • SAVE YOUR QUESTION: Some speakers do not mind an occasional question but listen first to see if they would prefer questions to be left at the end of the presentation. Regardless of how pressing your question may be, throwing in questions during a presentation can throw off the timing for the speaker.
  • BE KIND: Whether you agree with a speaker or not, this is NOT your platform. Rude remarks do not achieve anything. If you have something to help the speaker improve, do this in a private manner after the event.

There is simply no excuse for professionals to act in a way that is unbecoming to the entire organization. You can save your side conversations for after a presentation. Remember, it takes time and effort to present. The speaker deserves respect.

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Comments (33)

Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

CONGRATULATIONS Paula, on having this blog FEATURED in the Old Farts Club group!  

Feb 13, 2023 04:36 PM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

Your last sentence sums it up, "Remember, it takes time and effort to present. The speaker deserves respect.''

Feb 13, 2023 05:59 PM
Leanne Smith
Dirt Road Real Estate - Golden Valley, AZ
Relocation to NW AZ with elbow room & more freedom

My sense is the current culture with the lack of personal responsibility and accountability have contributed to the demise of professionalism.

Feb 13, 2023 07:18 PM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

When college professors encourage students to shout down speakers when they don't agree with them - what can we expect?

Feb 13, 2023 08:23 PM
Charles Ross - (785)-819-6944
eXp Realty LLC Salina Group - Salina, KS
Love To Help People

Excellent information to live by. Thank you for sharing. Have a wonderful day and a blessed week.

Feb 14, 2023 02:39 AM
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

Teach your children well. Not taught is no excuse but where a lot of it stems.

Feb 14, 2023 04:00 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello Paula - times are in a state of constant change.  Each of us continues to adapt and adjust.  Echoing the comments by Fred Griffin Florida Real Estate and Anna Banana Kruchten Phoenix Broker, it's important for any speaker to a group to establish proper "behavior" in the seminar they are attending.  

Feb 14, 2023 04:22 AM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good morning Paul,

Isn't it amazing the lack of respect that comes from an audience these days and the lack of professional decorum. My pet peeve is having those come in late and they know when the meeting/class starts. I agree with others setting up ground rules ahead of time is probably the best way. You would think you were were working with First graders! 

Feb 14, 2023 04:38 AM
faye schubert
Retired - Branson, MO
Living the Branson Lake Life

I even notice at a baseball game, everyone looking at their phones!

Why did they pay money to WATCH a baseball game and spend the entire time looking at a phone?

Attending presentations is even worse. To me, it's total disrespect for the presenter who is trying to share knowledge.

Feb 14, 2023 05:32 AM
Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Estate Specialist
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
Probate Real Estate

Hello Dr. Paula McDonald - oh boy - you struck a main nerve with me reading this. 

It drives me bat crap crazy to witness how rude and unprofessional some people are.

They are so wrapped up and absorbed in their own narcissistic world - it's all about them them.  

It is why I am so challenged to be in groups of people. 

Feb 14, 2023 07:43 AM
Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Estate Specialist
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
Probate Real Estate



Mr. Crappy Says

Flush Unprofessional Behaviors!





Feb 14, 2023 07:44 AM
Ginger Harper
Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage~ Ginger Harper Real Estate Team - Southport, NC
Your Southport~Oak Island Agent~Brunswick County!

I went back and reread this.  It is a very good post..

Thanks for posting.

Feb 14, 2023 09:10 AM
Edward Gilmartin
CRE - Boston, MA

I have noticed more and more people of all ages focusing on their smart phones when they should be focusing on learning, working, playing with their child or pet etc.

Feb 14, 2023 10:20 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Well said, Paula. These are excellent tips, although it's a shame they have to be shared.

It seems that more and more people are spending their time looking at their phones, or even listening to voice mail instead of paying attention to what the speaker has to say. 


Feb 14, 2023 11:46 AM
Ray Henson
eXp Realty of California, Inc. (lic. #01878277) - Elk Grove, CA

I am not a fan of public speaking to begin with, so if I had an audience that was less than professional, I would have a real problem.  That reluctance (not quite fear) has made me very respectful when I am in the audience.  

Feb 15, 2023 06:16 AM
Rain Silverhawk
Sandpoint Realty - Sandpoint, ID
208-610-0011 Sandpoint Idaho Real Estate Realtor

This has been a pet peeve of mine for most of my career and does seem to be getting worse all the time.  When covid hit and classes were moved to zoom platforms it had to be a huge benefit for the trainers.  It helped eased the tensions and interruptions the presenter had to deal with and not take up time to hear someone's war story.  Those chat boxes were still flying but a good moderator could highlight the one thing out of a hundred that might help with the presentation.  I suspect however that this would boomerang and intensify the problem ten fold once back in an in person session.  Too bad it had to be said in the first place, but a well warranted reminder on how to act in the professional world.  

Feb 15, 2023 07:45 AM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

Thank you very much, Paula, for sharing your observations and advice.

Have a productive week.

Feb 15, 2023 08:47 AM
Mark Don McInnes, Sandpoint-Idaho
Sandpoint Realty LLC - Sandpoint, ID
North Idaho Real Estate - 208-255.6227

Hello Paula,  I cringe at the behavior of attendees at a seminar or classes.  Always at least one.  At least one positive that I am thankful for of the pandemic is the increase in 'zoom' type classes.  A crying shame that an 8 hour class in person can be better taught in only 6 hours when the rudeness can be eliminated with but a simple mute button.  Kudos to you for still stepping up with personal classes and educating us.  Mark

Feb 16, 2023 09:34 AM
Margaret Goss
@Properties - Winnetka, IL
Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate

The "side conversations" that you refer to are what bother me most. How can certain people start talking - almost in full voice mode - and think that others can still hear the speaker?  I never used to tell them to "shush" but I do now! 

Feb 16, 2023 12:38 PM
Zachary Boutin, CPA
First Response Resolution, LLC - Eagle Point, OR
Oregon's Tax Problem Solver

Fantastic post and well written! I look forward to reading more of your blogs. Public speaking is hard enough without having to deal with rude behavior, especially from those who claim to be professionals. As a CPA, we often have to be the adult in the room, especially in the tax preparation industry. Thank you for sharing.

Feb 16, 2023 09:28 PM