DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: I am nearly 29 years old, but I look 20, and people often treat me like a kid.
I work in the career guidance office of a university, and part of my job is to make presentations to groups of soon-to-be graduating students on topics like dressing for success and tips for interviewing.
It’s demoralizing to me to be treated with disrespect and sometimes outright rudeness during my presentations by people who think I’m younger than them and don’t know what I’m talking about. I’ve been successfully out in the workforce for years now and I take pains to dress professionally and project what I consider is a professional image, but nothing seems to work. What more can I do? --- BABY-FACED COUNSELOR
DEAR BABY-FACED COUNSELOR: If you haven’t already, it’s time you reach out to either your boss or a more experienced coworker to see if they have some tips for taming an unruly audience. Perhaps they could either observe one of your presentations, or you could sit in on one of theirs.
You also need to accept your listeners believing they already know what you’re trying to tell them ─ whether they do or not. Being a know-it-all is a perennial occupational hazard for college students.
Finally, give yourself credit for reaching those in your audience who know how to behave like grown-ups and who are actually hoping to benefit from the information you’re sharing. Like the loudmouths, they’re out there too.