CIVILITY (n.) politeness and courtesy in behavior or speech
The other day I was watching TV when all of a sudden a “comedian” held up a decapitated, bleeding head of the President of the United States. At the same time my wife, who as at an out-of-state speaking engagement, phoned and told me about the tears she encountered while speaking to a group of young college women who risked harm because of expressing a less-than popular view while on campus.
In my continual quest to raise the bar on our profession in 2017, I cannot help but ask, has anyone noticed that civility and respect are disappearing? From how nations deal with one another; to our intolerances of differences to what is “right”; to our social media opposing viewpoints cyber bullying, civility is becoming a lost art in our great country.
The trickle down affects even infiltrates our local market where too often, our communication style amongst fellow agents has turned into a contest of who can send the tougher email.
My question is, how did we get here?
I believe that much of our civility deficiency is attributed to the advancement of electronic communications. We are all guilty of shooting off a text, rather than picking up the phone. Or of sending an email of negotiations, instead of meeting face-to-face for lunch. For Pete sake, some of us are even guilty of sending emojis flower as a thank you gift, instead of taking time to “stop and smell” the real things our self!
So what can we do to bring back the art of civility to the heart of what we do? I have five recommendations:
1. Meet rather than email: Step one in re-finding civility is to go back to basics. This means, make a point of having one-to-one meetings, as only we can best represent our viewpoint.
2. Pick up the phone: I certainly see the need for creating a paper trail for all material communications. But a personal phone call with discussion and dialogue is still the best remedy to settling ant potential pitfalls.
3. Remember the goal is that everyone gets to win. Therefore, allow for a difference of opinions from all parties, without taking it personal.
4. Keep the real estate negotiations between agents. Our clients don’t need to hear every sparring move or verbal punch about their property or the deal. As an agent, we are the buffer. And our job is to keep our clients feeling good about their house and who their buyers are and any deals that come their way.
5. Live the Golden Rule: Treat others as you would have them treat you. Perhaps by doing so, civility will become a trickle up effect and just by focusing on your own backyard, that energy can affect our personal and professional life, which can then affect a community. Then perhaps a nation. And who knows. It maybe even impact the world. One can only hope, anyways.