Whether you’re a landlord, property manager or community manager, chances are, you’re in constant contact with your network, whether it’s scheduling walk-throughs, answering questions, responding to complaints or scheduling maintenance appointments. Every interaction you have is an opportunity to increase trust, foster loyalty and build your reputation. That’s why honing your communication skills is so critical. Here are a few tips to keep in mind.
Pay attention to your body language.
According to experts, anywhere from 70% to 93% of all communication is nonverbal. As such, monitoring the message you’re sending, above and beyond your words, is essential to effective communication. In person, make eye contact, be mindful of your posture and do not cross your arms. Over the phone, try smiling. It really does set a much more positive tone.
Engage in active listening.
In many cases, a person who is feeling angry or frustrated can be pacified by simply allowing them to vent and making sure they feel heard. When dealing with a complaint especially, you should practice active listening. Give the other party a chance to speak uninterrupted. Repeat and rephrase what they’ve told you to show that you understand, and demonstrate empathy for their situation.
Be honest and tactful.
Obviously, you’d never willfully mislead someone with a lie or intentional misinformation, but even the slightest hint of avoidance or evasiveness can quickly and irreparably erode trust. And since building trust is such an important component of successful property management, being honest and forthcoming at all times is an absolute must. If you don’t know the answer to a question, offer to find out and get back to them. If you have to deliver bad news, do it in a way that is truthful but tactful.
Be timely and attentive.
As a property manager, landlord or community manager, you are undoubtedly very busy. But what may seem insignificant to you, especially given your hectic schedule, may be a seriously big deal to a resident in need. Brushing things off or delaying your responses can convey the message that you don’t care or that your tenants’ concerns aren’t a priority to you. To avoid this, always be responsive. Answer calls when you can, and return messages, texts and emails in a timely manner.
Use appropriate methods.
It may be much quicker and easier to just send a text to a resident rather than pick up the phone or drop by in person, but be mindful of the type of communication you are delivering. If it’s just a quick check-in or follow up, a text may be fine, but if it’s bad news or something more serious, you’re much better off sharing that information in a more personal manner.
Resist the urge to interrupt.
One of the biggest communication no-no’s is not allowing others to finish their statements before attempting to respond. Your mind may be going a mile a minute thinking of all the things you have to do, but that shouldn’t impact the respect you show your residents. When someone else is talking, let them finish before you reply. And remember to practice active listening so you hear what they’re truly trying to say and aren’t just waiting for an opportunity to jump in.
Take advantage of technology.
Lastly, the way humans interact has changed dramatically over the past few decades. Technology has made it possible to stay connected from anywhere and communicate in real-time at the click of a few buttons. Take advantage of the tools that are available to you, such as online portals, to streamline and optimize your tenant communication. Not only will it improve efficiency and productivity for you, but it’ll provide your residents with convenient options to stay in touch via their preferred method. That’s a win-win in our book.