Boomer, Gen-X, Gen-Z, and Millennial are just a few of the buzz words thrown around to describe different generations of people who have similar ages and cultural experiences. There are no hard lines in these categories, but the different generations do seem to struggle sometimes in communication amongst other groups as well as have their preferred methods of communicating with each other. This difference can lead to a communication frustration that can easily be avoided with some basic considerations. Let's take a quick look at some best practices around communication in business.
Messaging, SMS, Direct messaging servicesMessaging is great for quick information transfer without any formal expectations. For example, “What time is the meeting?”, “Is Jenny’s number 867-5309?”, “How big was the garage on that house we liked?”, are all good examples of questions that can be quickly and efficiently handled by messaging directly with an individual. “Tell me what kind of a home you are searching for?” is an example of a question that is too open-ended for a message and should be bumped up the hierarchy of communication.
Emails expand the rangeEmail is a modern version of a letter and is expected to have more content and context when communicating a complexity not suited for messaging. Email should always use more formal language, punctuation, and introductory and closing etiquette where messaging does not require it. Emails start with “Hello Jenny” and end with a closing statement like “talk soon”, or “regards”, and the body can contain a significantly more developed explanation of what you are communicating as well as may include attachments for reference. An email of 500 words would not be considered onerous, but a text message with the same content would be seen as contemptuous and annoying.
Telephone talkIt may be a surprise to many folks these days, but those smartphones you carry around in your pockets everywhere you go also have the capability of dialing out! Let’s call that voice-to-voice technology to make it exciting, but the power of the telephone cannot be underestimated. When you are speaking on the phone, you have not only the ability to pass much more information between people in a short time, but you also gain real-time feedback from the other party, with the huge benefit of voice inflection. Voice inflection is a huge benefit when communicating because it can signal empathy, sympathy, conviction, passion, urgency, understanding, etc. just by the way you say something over the words you actually say. On the negative side of this, we have all been in situations where a recipient of an email or text message read something into our message that wasn’t actually there in the words, leading to frustration or upset feelings.
In-person InvaluableIt shouldn’t need to be said, but it does. Face-to-face communication is the single greatest tool in your communication toolbox, which includes information transfer, voice inflection, body language, and rapport building in a nice compact package where you may even get to drink coffee! This requires the most effort because you need to get your body to the same place as their body and then “start” the conversation, however, the practice will pay dividends beyond all other methods combined.
Hierarchy harmonyHaving described some of the main differences in the various forms of communication used in real estate, let's talk about the hierarchy of use. The hierarchy should be, from most top to bottom, In-person, voice-to-voice, email, text, and you should deploy this model in most of your interactions. As a rule, you should always respond to someone in at least the same level as they have reached out to you, for example, if someone calls you, you call them back rather than text them back. Or, If someone requests a meeting, you meet with them, rather than email them. As the best practice, always try to achieve the highest level possible for the situation or person, so if someone emails you, you can call them, or ask for a meeting over coffee. By using this method as a rule of thumb you will meet people at their level at least, or exceed their expectations at best.
Recognizing not all situations work in this model, it is important to keep this in mind when interacting with people. The technology has become so intuitive and convenient, that it's just “easier” to degrade your communications to a lower level for the sake of expediency and getting on with other things. By doing that you harm your chances for a higher-level relationship, and increase the probability of miscommunication and even frustration. To date in human history telepathy is not an option, so if you are locked into a written or spoken communication as a transfer of information between people, choose the highest and best you can.
Provincial Practice Advisor
Bryan has many years of experience in the real estate industry including over 10 years as a former broker in the Edmonton Region.
Email: email@example.comPhone: 403-209-3619