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Part 1: Why

The real estate business, like many other businesses, is all about people.  You need to work with them.  You need to warn them if, for example, the HVAC system needs to go offline for repairs.  You need to get information from people about what they want.  And they do the same with you.  These daily interactions are productive only if people communicate effectively, both as a sender and as an active receiver.

Different people experience different consequences of poor communication skills.  “A” students do well by mastering techniques better than their classmates.  When they graduate and get a job, they may find that they have no impact because they cannot communicate their technical insights to others.  I conjecture that the communication problem changes direction as people move up the corporate ladder: egocentric CEOs who fail to listen suffer because they fail to learn.

The hidden challenge for many people is that, after many years of schooling, they think that they are highly skilled.  As a university instructor who has spent many years trying to improve the quality of my own writing, I can say that there are many bad examples.  The difference between a student who communicates poorly and a graduate who communicates poorly is the cost, which may increase as you get older.  For example, I will deduct points on a poorly written report submitted for a course but it has never been enough to cause a student to fail.  My penalty cannot be as costly as the ambiguous comma which cost Rogers $1 million or cost BellSome people claim that bad PowerPoint presentations cost society $ 250 billion per year.

None of these comments are specific to the real estate business.  What may be special to this business may be the need to communicate with people in many different roles: government officials, skilled workers, financiers in fancy suits and regular people in their daily life.  In my opinion, it requires an extra skill and much practice to make yourself understood by people with such a diverse range of backgrounds, interests, questions and misconceptions to be overcome.

While communication skills are not fancy, they may trump all the other Big Ideas.  Communication enables you to learn the information that you need to know and to get others to do what you want them to do after you decide what they need to do.