Hermione Hart is a Property Management Business and Life Coach for Property Managers who want to grow, manage and scale their rent rolls without burning out.
In one of my client coaching sessions today, we talked about some complaints she had had about her communication style being blunt especially over email when liaising with her landlords and tenants - and wanted to know how to improve that.
We spoke about how for some of us, we have very direct communication styles which isn’t necessarily a bad thing! Often this type of person is simply being direct and efficient on getting their message out.
However this can cause challenge where the person receiving the message does not have the same communication style, where the person receiving the email is having a bad day, or the person has a belief already applied to dealing with you or your agency.
Conflict can arise then where the person receiving the message gets upset with the short, blunt email which can often lead to back and forward, broken relationships (making things harder and more time consuming for a property manager to resolve) and increased chances of conflict (stressful for all involved!)
There are a few thoughts here...
-Firstly email is a very challenging communication method as tone and context can easily be lost. However it is often the easiest and keeps that paper trail.
-Secondly the email being received is at the mercy of the person receiving it - we cannot control the other persons communication style in how the message is received and what state of mind the other person is reading it in like if they’ve simply had a bad day and receive the message in a bad mood.
-Thirdly we are often reverting to email for highly emotional topics and conversations which would would be much better communicated via phone or in person where possible.
-Lastly, and luckily - even if you have a direct communication style - it is entirely possible to make a few simple tweaks to your email communication to improve how it is received on the other end. Which can have a massive impact on the outcomes and relationships with your clients, reducing that potential for misunderstanding and context.
Provided email is the right communication method for the communication method then you can take try these strategies
Slow down - this might seem hard for those of us who are frantically trying to get many things done, but the more rushed we are, the more likely it is we’ll send rushed emails. Ensuring you plan out your day effectively will make a huge difference to the quality of emails you can send.
Take a minute to read - once you’ve written the email, pause to step into the other persons shoes and consider - if they were receiving this, how might they perceive this email and message? Consider, how do I want them to feel and what is my ideal outcome here.
Sandwich your message - sometimes in a rush we can forget the fluff or padding. Take a moment to say something like “hope your move went well”, or “hope you enjoyed the weekend” - it softens the tone and ads a friendly start. Then, preframe the message you’re about to deliver instead of diving straight in i.e. “I am writing to confirm the results of the vacate inspection and request your attention on some of the items”. And then, after you’ve delivered your message, issue or required actions, then close of by outlining the next steps or expectations, with an opening for further communication on the matter. i.e. Feel free to call me to chat about this or simply let me know what action you’d like us to take"
Focus on the outcome - shift your mindset to focus on the outcome you’re trying to achieve, it will usually be to get your desired way or action. So how can you best deliver the message so it’s best received and most likely for that to occur
Your state of mind / stress levels - if you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, your tone and shortness can sometimes reflect that in your written communication. Aim to reset yourself with a break, breathing or brain dump onto paper to reduce your stress levels before addressing your emails.
Write and Walk away - for those really big sticky issues, write the big email, then walk away, leave it for an hour and come back before you send it. Often when you comeback to it with fresh eyes you’ll see ways to improve your communication
Think of sending your emails out like a baton pass in a relay. You cannot control how the other person receives it, BUT you can do everything possible to ensure a strong and intentional handover to improve your chances of success.
Would love to hear if you think these will help? And if you have any other tips you’d like to share with your fellow PM’s.