Communication Management

Whether you are in real estate or some other business, the most important thing that you can do to manage both your time and your frustration level is to communicate well. I’ll be honest, I don’t always do this well. With all the advances in technology it seems that it has become even easier to fail to communicate.

I watched a movie where the woman missed having one machine and one cassette where she could get all her messages. Anymore you have email, voice mail, a cell phone, your tablet, and text messaging. And the ever so helpful auto correct is always correcting what it shouldn’t when you text making it even more confusing if you don’t catch the correction. So what can we do to make sure that we are communicating to the best of our ability? I can only give you the answers that seem to work for me.

First, when you communicate you need to make sure that you actually understand what you are being asked to do. If you don’t understand the instructions, ask questions. I have noticed that too many people don’t like to admit that they don’t understand something. They think that it some how makes them look silly or stupid. Let me be the first to say that you’ll look a lot worse if you do the wrong thing completely. If you need permission then you have my permission to ask questions. And contrary to belief, it is highly unlikely to ask a stupid question. Although I’ve been known to ask a stupid question now and again. Just have a good laugh and then rephrase what you need to know.

Second, try to go to the source for your information. Too many times we get caught in a game of telephone. I remember sitting in my class in grade school and playing this game. By the time the original message reached the last person it was unrecognizable. Don’t play the he said she said game if you can help it. Let’s be real. If you are at the bottom of a long corporate ladder, the odds of going to the source is slim to none. However don’t be afraid to send things up the ladder until you know what is expected.  It will save you from high blood pressure and frustration.

Third, understand that email and text messages can’t give words the inflection that you intended. You may think you have phrased something in such a way no one could possibly misunderstand. How many times have they ended up mad or concerned they were in trouble and you were simply joking? Face to face conversation is much easier but takes a lot more time than that email or text. Step away from whatever you have written briefly then re-read what you have written. Does it still say what you need it to say? Did auto correct “help” you out again? We’ve become an impersonal society. Most of us actually prefer to email and text. Let’s face it, those in person meetings have a much better chance of taking 15 minutes to do what can be done with a 1 minute text or email.

Fourth, should you receive directions in person, write them down. This is my number one failing and the older I get the less my memory helps me out. Most days I feel like I miss my brain. It went on a vacation and forgot to take me with it. It is the simplest thing in the world to key a reminder in your phone or carry a notebook and pen with you. Believe me, right now I am preaching to myself. Writing things down will help you to remember a task. It also has the added benefit of recording what happened during your conversation when the he said she said starts. A word of caution, writing things down is only as successful as what you have written. Try to get in the habit of reviewing what was written so that you know you didn’t miss something. Sometimes you may write a note and then wonder what your shorthand really means. As I like to say, your what hurts?

Finally, utilize the tools that have been provided to communicate. When you leave a voicemail, leave a book. Tell them who you are, where they can reach you, how long you will be at that number, and what it is that you need specifically. They may not listen to the message but that’s on them. You tried to save them time by letting them know how they could help you. I don’t know about you but cell phones are a notoriously under used tool. I have stopped leaving my family voicemails because they simply don’t listen to them. There will always be a few people that don’t listen. So maybe there is one more point. Utilize the tools provided but make sure they are the right tool. Get to know who likes voicemail, texts, or emails. I am often told to call someone but email them instead because I know that they prefer an email. Now the exception to that is if the information is needed yesterday and you can’t risk them seeing your email tomorrow. My one pet peeve is that people say call me and leave a number but don’t tell me what it is that they need. Usually it is something easy enough to answer, but sometimes research is needed. How much nicer would it be if I called you back with the answer instead of telling you I need to call you back. Especially if you need the information yesterday.

So hopefully I have communicated well and provided some things that will help you navigate the world of business communication. I am always open to suggestions so if there is something that works for you, don’t hesitate to write a comment. Thanks for taking the time to read this post.

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