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Carol Perkins: Speaking to a group of high acheving women

She told her husband what to expect. She was right
Next earlier column: Carol Perkins: Valentine's Day - What sweet memories Posted February 16, 2014.

By Carol Perkins

When Guy (my husband) told me that he was speaking to group of female business leaders at a company conference in Atlanta in a few week, I rolled my eyes. Not because this was a group of women, but because it was a group of women.

"How many?"

"Seventy five or so. The CEO invited Matt and me to talk to his staff about how to improve marketing, etc." When I discovered he was not being paid, but doing this as a favor I knew he would regret his decision. He would not come out unscathed.

"Here is what you can expect." I vividly described what he would face in his fifteen-minute presentation. When I finished, he turned his head slightly to the side as if to say, "Surely not."

I nodded. "Surely so."

"Here's what you need to know. Generally, a room of high achieving women will be a collection of rude, noisy, and disrespectful adults and I can't explain why."

I came to that conclusion after observing during my many years of professional development, in-service training, local, state, and national conferences, local teacher's association meetings, conducting in-services myself, and attending college classes with older students. (Men are not exempted.)

"After five minutes, they will talk to each other, text, talk on their phones, laugh, and go in and out to the bathroom or to get a cup of free coffee and a donut."

I don't think he believed me. Late that Saturday morning he called with the sound of disgust. "Well, you were right. That was a rude bunch of women. They listened to me about ten minutes and then did just what you said they would do. I felt sorry for Matt because he followed me." He continued.

"While Matt was talking, the CEO of the company (a man) rapped on the table with his fist several times to get them quiet, but that only worked for a little while and right back at it they went." Can you imagine a BOSS pounding on a table to get his employees to be quiet!

"After it ended, he apologized but I will NEVER do that again."

The worst part of this story is that Guy and Matt were unpaid, invited guests.

I realized how rude women could be years ago when I was working on my master's and taking off campus classes consisting mainly of ladies. I recall one such class where each week we sat at round tables in a local library and within a few minutes of the teacher's lecture, many started whispering or reading a book or writing notes. (Before cell phones)

At the end of the course, we were to write a "reaction" paper about the class. I wrote a type of apology for the rude behavior of my colleagues. The teacher responded with something like this: "I learned long ago what to expect in these classes, so I appreciate your thoughts but I don't take it personally."

I would have taken it very personally, and if my students ever thought about acting the way these adults did (teachers themselves), we would have come to an understanding. Whether it is the preacher, a teacher, a speaker at a ceremony, or a guest speaker in a classroom, paying attention is a sign of good manners. Adults are worse about this than kids.

On a footnote, not long ago I was with a small group and while one of the guests was making a heart felt, touching statement another was TEXTING. He finished texting in time to applaud what he had not heard.

I wanted to turn over the table, but Guy just tilted his head and looked at me as if to say, "Surely not." I rolled my eyes to say, "Surely so. Yes, surely so." - Carol Perkins

This story was posted on 2014-02-23 15:57:45
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