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How can you quickly recognize professionalism?

You can recognize the amount of professionalism that someone demonstrates by noticing these 3 things:

1. How they talk about you

2. How they talk about themselves

3. How they talk about anyone else


1. How they talk about you

They are calm and relaxed about interacting with you. They are eager to find clients that are a good fit for them and to serve them well.

They want to quickly determine how well you fit with what they are willing to provide (not just what they are able to provide).

They want to know what your interests are, how clear you are on what you need, and the details of your schedule and your financial capacity. Their priority will be learning anything about you that is relevant to the primary focus.

If they can quickly observe that you qualify to be a good fit for them, they will tell you. They will also value quickly identifying anything that could "disqualify" you.

They clearly know what they presume about you and they are open to correcting their presumptions (based not just on what you might say, but on what you actually do). If they conclude that you might have a presumption about them that is relevant and inaccurate, they will take action to clarify the reality.

They will also be interested in challenging presumptions that might you have about the job. They want to know what to expect from you and to know what you expect (and why).

They are not focused on edcuating on you on every single detail or on why they do things a particular way. They expect you to respect them and their interests.


2. How they talk about themselves

They are aware of the extent of their expertise and their past accomplishments. They already are clear about what they are able to do and so their priority is to find out if they are willing to take a particular new opportunity. They explore querstions like this one: "Is this opportunity a match for my schedule and my financial requirements?"

They are confident without being arrogant. They are proud (as in delighted) without being vain or anxious.

They can also be modest and humble. They know who they admire. They know who else has helped them to learn what they know. They are not easily flattered, nor embarrassed by expressions of gratitude. They are interested in knowing the limits of what they can do (and, typically, committed to expanding those limits).

They do not argue to impress people. They do not hysterically defend what they know makes sense. If people do not respect them, they either take action to attract respect or simply move toward ending the interaction.


3. How they talk about anyone else
When they consider it relevant, they may talk about past clients and other companies or organizations. To emphasize a point, they may share brief stories (typically, without naming any specific people). They will emphasize the different actions that led to relief or regret.

They will consistently display respect toward others. If a situation was disappointing or frustrating or even frightening to them, they can say so directly.

However, they are slow to blame, so you may notice a surprising absence of resentment and contempt. They may not agree with the practices of an individual or group, but they are not easily provoked to outrage. For instance, if a competitor demonstrates a low level of effectiveness or competence, they see that as an opportunity to serve an unmet need (and perhaps a cause to report some act of misconduct).

Or, if a relevant organization is slowing down their work, they will respect that risk or threat and then act with an interest in preventing or resolving complications. If they consider it important to maintain good relations with a particular government agency or an insurance company, then they will attempt to work effectively with those people.

They want the process to go well for them AND for everyone else involved. Their focus is first on what needs to be done and second on what method(s) seem most relevant for effectively doing what needs to be done.


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