Effectively Communicating and Intentional Personal Focus During a Pandemic

Admit it. Everything is just WEIRD. Our “New Normal” is ANYTHING but normal. I’ve noticed that it’s even affected the most basic of communications. Sometimes I think that because from childhood we have associated masks with pretending to be someone else and hiding our identity, wearing one has caused a lot of us to exhibit our associations subconsciously. We are the same person – pre-covid and post-covid. However, there is a strangeness, even to the point of awkwardness in personal interaction and communications these days.

Statue wearing a mask

As a Commercial Real Estate Brokerage, our business is hinged on communications. Yes knowledge and expertise is power, but if you are unable to convey those things to your client, they are useless.

Our intentional attempts to keep in front of our clients and prospects should be top priority. While maintaining our social distancing and protective measures, we must communicate person to real person. Fear causes people to act strangely, to react strangely. We are seeing this trend in commercial real estate. Some investors and buyers are throwing caution to the wind and making major moves, despite the pandemic. Others are closing their blinds and their minds to any thoughts of considering a covid real estate transaction. We as professionals should be flexible, understanding, and respectful of other’s reactions to this crisis. We should be the value-added asset during this time, helping them maintain profitability and achieve their goals in spite of this virus. It’s all about making good connections and then maintaining them.

Good connections are made when:

Embrace Diversity and Turn Off Your “Presets” – Not only skin color and gender, but age and geographic regions. We’re all different and it’s wonderful. Commercial Real Estate desperately needs diversity, but I know we’re not the only ones. We’ve made strides, but we have a long way to go. Be the game changer at your business and set the example of unity in diversity.

The eyes are the windows to the soul – When you are speaking, look me in the eye and focus on me. Make me feel like you want to invest your time in communicating with me. Even with a mask on, your eyes speak multitudes about how you’re feeling about what is being discussed.

Remember, you’re not speaking to a screen, you’re speaking to a person. For some reason, we don’t have conversations the same way “virtually”. If you are video chatting, stay engaged and animated during conversation just as if they were across the table. Don’t stare at your image, look at them directly. Until we can be face to face, we’ve got to make this work. It will work better if we act like it’s not a screen between us.

“It’s about the bottom line” You’ve heard it more than once in Commercial Real Estate and other industry sectors. Does this mean you don’t need a personality to sell #CRE? Think again. People like to feel respected and valued. And yes, a lot of us are on edge and more impatient during Covid-19. Have grace with each other. Smooth the rough edges with a pleasant response. Call back within a reasonable amount of time. Humans are wired for relationship. We make connections. We should strive to not only make sales, but be better humans.

Take our communications poll:

Business: Expectations vs. Reality

Our Next Steps as Business Owners

Businesses have been swept up in a whirlwind these last few months, some still in a holding pattern, some barely surviving and others, well….thriving.

Let’s step back for a moment. Think about when you decided to start your business. Remember the vision that seemed like it was “placed” in your brain? Whether you used vision boards or something as simple as graphing paper and #2 pencil, it flowed out of you because you saw something, you knew something, you put it together in your mind and it came out as a plan which then became framework, which became a business model, then business plan and so on and so forth and the rest is history, right?

Now, let’s step into the here and now once again. Here we are, fellow business owner, in the middle of a pandemic and newly evolving guidelines presented to you practically every morning. You are meeting with your management team via zoom or spread out in your conference room awkwardly, observing social distancing requirements. Finances, Human Resources, Safety Committees, Operations on “high alert”…so many factors, so many things to manage. Is there light at the end of the tunnel, or is this more like a cyclone?

America has experienced catastrophic situations since its inception. Through each tumultuous trial that we have faced as a nation, one thing has been a constant. Americans are resilient. American business owners are fierce. We are innovators, inventors, and imaginations run wild, even when chaos is all around us.

From what I am observing, the businesses that are “thriving” have taken a moment, poured a cup of coffee or tea, turned off the noise and had a reality check of their own. You’re sitting there in your quiet place, probably holding your head, saying to yourself, “I had a plan, I have expectations…now what?!?”

Don’t forget every expectation that you had coming into 2020, however, you are going to need a reset mentally and operationally because as with all of the aspects of life, we have to adjust our expectations to meet our current circumstances. Some businesses are still rolling along because they’ve made “adjustments”. They didn’t loose their identity nor did they throw their vision in file 13. They did re-envision their business models and came up with ways to continue to offer their services, manufacture and sell their products in innovative ways that worked in a COVID-19 environment.

So, a word of encouragement to business owners who feel like they are in the cyclone rather than a brief stint in the tunnel: You were visionary and innovative and creative and clever when you started this business of yours. You still ARE! Gather your team and have brainstorming, collaborative sessions. Make ways in the desert. Focus on the positive. In 2020, you have so many different internet/digital avenues to keep your message, your brand, even your new offerings out in front of your potential client base. Make your name known. Provide special offers to potential clients. Create community by making a concerted effort to build a “fan base” within your social media channels. Make friends with other local business owners and give them props on your channels. Feed the unity and draw the community closer together in this time “apart”, and thrive in this season of uncertainty. Your new normal, your new reality might be your next favorite vision.