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By Jeff Mandel and Steve Hamner
RISMEDIA, July 17 2007—After interviewing our real estate and financial experts on the many facets of communication, we asked the group to provide some recommendations that could be applied by our readers to improve their communication both within their organizations and with external business partners.

Here are some of the highlights:

Mark Stark CEO of Prudential Americana in Las Vegas feels that through poor communication “great organizations are destroyed a little bit at a time.”

“We find that instead of constantly striving for better communication, we typically wait for big events to occur and then try to learn how to communicate,” he explains. “The preferred approach would be to learn a little every day.”

Ken Harthausen, managing director of strategic business alliances for Countrywide, suggests that when you are working with business partners in remote locations you need to be focused on understanding the different styles of communication preferred by your partners. One may prefer a phone call and another will only respond to e-mail.

When communicating the need to make changes, Trident Group President Gerry Griesser feels that you need to understand the value proposition and overly communicate it. This will ensure that all parties are focused on the chosen path and hear the message until it becomes ingrained in their minds. He has found that some folks are really willing to embrace change (navigators) and others consistently resist (victims).

According to Griesser, it is more difficult to communicate with a victim. Navigators are willing to be leaders because they will accept change and be willing to move forward.

Transition, or change, is always a challenge. When going through these periods of change, Linda Sherrer, CEO of Prudential Network Realty in Jacksonville, Florida, understands the importance of having a plan. She feels that you need to have a detailed communication plan around any change and stick to it. All affected parties need to know the actions that will occur and when, and the team needs to maintain open lines of communication so that there are no surprises.

In addition to the great points raised by the executives above, we have learned the following and continue to try and personally improve the following communication best practice: Always take the extra time before you speak or communicate to ask yourself the following four questions:

1. What is the objective of my message?
2. Do I understand the needs of the stakeholders for whom the message is intended?
3. How can/will my message be interpreted?
4. Is my message clear and succinct?

If a lack of clarity or a gap exists with any of the four then you need to pause and make the appropriate adjustments before you proceed and create a new challenge. RE

Jeff Mandel is the founder and president of Prism Professional Solutions (Prism). Steve Hamner is the company’s former vice president.