It Only Takes Two Steps to Communicate Effectively
Leasing professionals are the front line of communication between residents, prospects, and the office and maintenance staff. This central position between the moving parts of vendors, maintenance, tours, office activities, upper management, etc. makes clear communication the single most effective tool for a leasing professional to utilize.
Everyone Communicates Differently:
Leasing offices are run by small teams of 3-10 associates total, which are split into even smaller teams between office and maintenance tasks. This heightens the need to communicate clearly since each person on the team has different daily tasks and goals that must work in tandem in order to create a positive experience for residents. This is not an easy feat considering all of the moving parts involved: unexpected damages, missing keys, vendor schedules, quick turns, and weather interruptions are just a few examples of schedule-changing conflicts that can arise. Through all of these challenges, the teams that come out on top with the best resident reviews and overall experience for residents and staff are the teams with the strongest communication skills.
Communicate over different avenues; in this digital age, there are many ways to contact someone with an update or a question. The convenience factor of our technology age is tremendous, yet because there are so many different avenues of communicating with each other it takes some thought as to which avenue of communication is best: do we text, email, Snapchat, Facebook chat, Skype chat, or use something else entirely in order to get in touch with our team member? The correct answer will change depending on the team member you are trying to communicate with. Think back on the bosses you have worked for, and how they preferred to receive communication: did they all share the same preferences? Most likely not. I have worked for managers that prefer one long email to summarize the needs of the day, and I have also worked for managers who prefer several short messages throughout the day. Determine the best avenue of reaching your target by their preferred method: if they prefer texting over email, email over phone, or if they like a phone conversation, then use their preferred method to contact them. The quickest answers are received and the happiest coworkers are created this way!
It Takes Two to Communicate:
Communication is the greatest investment for creating a strong bond of trust between colleagues. Good communication is a two-way street: it’s not just what you need to convey to others, but receiving information from them by actively listening. Active listening uses all of your senses to focus on the person speaking, interpret their words, and respond thoughtfully. Someone who is actively listening is working on understanding, which in turn makes the speaker feel included and important. Eye contact is essential when engaging with colleagues, and even more important for active listening. Imagine going into your boss’s office when you need a moment of her time (a frequent occurrence when working with a small team) and she asks you to begin but is typing out an email while you are speaking. This scenario does not inspire confidence, and in reality, will damage trust over time. You may have been given the time from your boss, but time without attention is not going to result in clear communication. However, if she turns away from the computer and looks at you directly, actively listening, and considering your words while you are speaking, then you are offered a much better opportunity to connect. We can all agree that we would prefer to have the person we are speaking to give us their full attention rather than having one ear open. Afford the same courtesy to your colleagues by maintaining eye contact and actively listening, and your team will only get stronger.
This article was written by Natasha Holmberg with Greystar, as a part of the XCEL Committee's goal to provide regular, educational, posts for TAA's blog.