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The Art of Conversation

By Missy A. Quinn, Managing Director

People at the hall in office buildingNo one can deny that we live in a technologically advancing world, one that has begun to move faster than most of us can keep pace with. You purchase a new electronic device one day, only to find out the next version will be released within a few months with a faster connection and more intuitive apps.

Technology has enabled us to work smarter and faster, and these advances have created an environment of instant gratification for ourselves and our clients. We are able to multi-task more efficiently and do more of what we need to accomplish each day behind a screen—without ever having a face-to-face conversation.

Technology has begun to replace what I often refer to as the Art of the Conversation. My grandmother used to tell me that I had been blessed and cursed with the “Gift of Gab”, and I pride myself on my ability to hold a conversation with anyone.

The commercial real estate industry is a people business focused on customer service and interaction with one another. While technology has enabled us to do more with less, it’s contributed to a lack of interpersonal communication with co-workers, clients, tenants, and vendors.

Texting and emailing have become the go-to form of communication, but is it really the most effective? Here are 5 reasons why you should stop typing that email and pick up the phone:

  • To Convey Emotion: In the business world, using emoticons is frowned upon, so how do you convey your message and ensure it’s being taken with the right tone? Use your voice! Say your maintenance team isn’t meeting the response time expected by the owner. Sending an email could cause tension and conflict, but having a conversation offers everyone the opportunity to express themselves and work together to find a solution.
  • To get a Quick Response: While you might be glued to your screen, the recipient of your message might not be which can cause a communication breakdown. If you need an answer ASAP show that urgency by picking up the phone.
  • To Apologize: A summer storm caused water to pool in the building’s lobby. A call to the building owner and tenants to let them know about the situation and what to expect can ease concerns. Follow up with a hand delivered gift to apologize for the inconvenience.
  • To Share Important News: Whether it’s good news or bad news, sometimes an email just doesn’t cut it. Let your building owners know you respect them and their investment enough to share important news with them immediately and offer the opportunity to answer their immediate questions.
  • To Develop a Relationship: Everyone says building a relationship with owners and tenants is important, but you can’t do that if you are glued to your screen. In order to develop a relationship, people need to see your face and get a taste of your personality. Once they know you, they will feel comfortable coming to you with any needs.

Focusing on the relationship with the people and not just the assignment truly makes a difference in property management. So the next time you find yourself typing an email, stop, pick up the phone, and call.

My beautiful picture

Missy joined Cushman & Wakefield in 1988 and is currently the Philadelphia City Lead. She directs the management and operation of a portfolio consisting of approximately 10 million square feet of office, retail, and industrial properties throughout the Delaware Valley, Central Pennsylvania, and South Jersey. Her responsibilities include asset management, budget formulation and analyses, cost control, lease administration, and tenant construction.

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