For my wife and I, attending an hour-long session at Church with our three little boys feels like trying to stuff three hungry octopuses – each born with extra limbs – into a torn mesh bag. Unless we do something to keep our boys busy but reverent, we feel like we’ve spent an hour at the gym instead an hour in Church. One of our go-to bribes to keep our boys busy during this time is their own fresh pack of Crayons and a brand-new superhero activity/coloring book. Our boys’ all-time favorite games in these books (and the ones that keeps them the busiest) are the decipher-the-message pages.
For those of you who may have forgotten these little gems from your childhood, they’re basically messages that are encrypted using unique characters; one unique character represents a single letter or a sound. The messages are important to decipher because they help move the story along, or allow one to help the hero save the day. Without the key to the encryption, though, it’s almost impossible to decipher what the encrypted message says. Understandably, our boys will happily sit for hours while they decrypt messages, and then go further to write their own encrypted notes to us using the characters they learned from the game. Thinking about these games my boys play, I learned a lot about communication, as well as about life.
Communication is (and really people are) similar to these encryption games. Everyone has their own unique key to the way they communicate, and to the way they understand communication from others. The key to understand a person’s communication approach, though, is to ask questions. Some of the best conversations you’ll ever have will result from just asking a lot of sincere questions about how a person ticks, what they’re interested in, and why. As you sincerely learn more about the people you talk with, you will be better equipped to connect with them in a way that is meaningful to them, and will result in a return on the investment in them of your time.
(If the idea of benefitting from your relationships with others makes you uncomfortable, it’s probably because you’re thinking of it as though you have an ulterior motive. It doesn’t have to be that way, though. If you’re sincere, others will be able to tell, and they’ll usually reciprocate. If you’re insincere, though, people can also tell, and there is no chance you’ll benefit from that relationship.)
A business impacted by effective communication (which is every company that ever existed) really needs to understand this principle. In the Multifamily industry, we should be hyper focused on this principle; from the leasing agent working to understand the needs and desires of a prospective tenant, to the corporate officer giving marching orders to their subordinates. If each individual were focused on sincerely hoping to learn about those they interact with, and generally tries to be friendly and helpful, they will quickly find that this is the key to success in communication, and in life.
I’d love to hear about experiences where you’ve been able to crack the communication code in your business. Have you had any specific successes in reaching out to and connecting with your prospects, or to your tenants? Shoot us a line!