Protecting yourself on the job should be your top priority.
Jennifer Cassetta, a self-defense expert, presented safety tips for Realtors® in a webinar for PAR members with President Christopher Beadling. While Cassetta said the general response to fear is to fight, flight or freeze, there are steps to take to defend yourself. Having awareness of your surroundings and your plans is key, she said. It’s also important to always have a personal and professional contact know where you are and when you expect to return.
“These are habits we can include in our daily life,” she said. She advised adopting what she calls a detective mindset. Do more background work about potential clients, like checking social media and Google, practice situational awareness, have a partner and be aware of crime in the area. “Listen to your gut and ask questions,” she said. “Practice mindfulness.”
It’s also important to set both physical and mental boundaries, she said. “Know and secure all entrances and exits, stay close to exits, never turn your back,” she said. “You have no obligation to drive anyone anywhere. You are the boss.”
Body language can also send a message. “Use your body language in a powerful way,” she said. “Have your shoulders up, make eye contact with everyone and use a powerful tone.”
If you find yourself in a situation where you can not get away and you fear for your safety, Cassetta suggested trying to de-escalate. Stay calm, listen, reflect, maintain eye contact and posture, respond to the potential attacker by nodding and empathizing. “Check your ego at the door and let it go. Your safety should always be the most important.”
However, if you need to protect yourself, go for the eyes, throat and groin, she said. Taking a self-defense course is a good way to prepare yourself for the worst-case scenario. Additionally, there are products you can carry with you, like personal alarms, pepper spray, tasers, phone apps and jewelry that allow you to alert authorities.
“A sale is never more important than your life,” Cassetta added.
September is Realtor® Safety Month. Cassetta offers more Realtor® safety tips on her website.