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Our featured course for 25 percent off this month at the Center for REALTOR® Development is Short Sales and Foreclosures: What Real Estate Professionals Need to Know, which is the main requirement towards obtaining the Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource® (SFR®) Certification from NAR. Both the course and certification address the expertise required to effectively navigate distressed property transactions—that is, transactions involving buying or selling properties that are in foreclosure and/or which will be sold at a loss.

Naturally, these can be very stressful situations for both the client and the REALTOR®. At all times, but especially when working with distressed properties, effective communication skills can help make an extremely challenging experience a little bit easier to get through. As their trusted advisor, your clients will be looking to you to model effective and assertive communication, especially in high-stakes or stressful situations.

Natural communicators and negotiators, real estate agents excel in this area. However, even the best of us can always improve a little, and can benefit from a refresher. Below are three classic books on the topic for you to consider:

When I Say No, I Feel Guilty, by Manuel J. Smith —This classic on assertiveness from the 1970s spells out your basic human rights and shows you how to effectively advocate for yourself and others in all kinds of situations, from business to personal. It includes an analysis of why people often feel guilty saying no in the first place (hint: it starts in childhood), and detailed scripts to follow for specific circumstances.

Power Phrases! The Perfect Words to Say It Right & Get the Results You Want, by Meryl Runion — After not speaking up when her husband was stricken by a grave but possibly preventable illness, Meryl Runion made effective communication her passion. She has written an entire series of books, which you can review at her web site, This one here is our favorite and is a great introduction to her principles to help you “say what you mean, mean what you say, without being mean when you say it.”

Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When the Stakes Are High, by Kerry Patterson & Joseph Grenny is another classic that is well-regarded by the business community and is often used as the cornerstone for team-building encounters. It offers specific strategies that respect and enhance the great power of dialogue. It offers advice on how to maintain a “safe” space to stay engaged, even in spite of fear or anger—to help all parties work through the dialogue together and increase the chances of getting what they want.

Center for REALTOR® Development is a distinct online platform devoted to lifelong learning, career advancement, and specialized credentials for real estate professionals. Its educational offerings provide REALTORS® with the expertise to build their businesses, better serve clients, and differentiate themselves in a competitive marketplace.

For more information, visit onlinelearning.REALTOR.