“In many ways, effective communication begins with mutual respect, communication that inspires, encourages others to do their best.” -Zig Ziglar
Communication is defined as giving, receiving or exchanging ideas, information or messages to someone else. Team Communication is especially important during the training period for new Team Members to allow them the opportunity to ask questions (Clarify and Verify), express their ideas and thoughts, and to create accountability around Team expectations. Here are a few ways to communicate effectively.
Team meetings are essential collaborative sessions for businesses. They serve many purposes: making decisions, brainstorming, sharing critical news, or even teaching. They build camaraderie, create connections, and identify direction for your team. Unfortunately, sometimes, we lose track of their purpose. One way to ensure a successful Team Meeting is to create a “Meeting Agenda”. Team Members can also take turns conducting the Team Meetings weekly to allow everyone the opportunity to lead.
Some Meeting Agenda suggestions could be: Wins/ Accomplishments, Progress on Team Goals/ Numbers, Upcoming Events and Announcements, and Training/ Value.
Daily Huddles/ Stand Ups are meant to be short and impactful, so depending on the size of your team these meetings should be between 10-30 minutes max to connect with the team first thing in the morning and ensure that everyone is on the same page.
Some Daily Stand Up topics to cover could be: Big Rocks (Priorities) for the Day, Team Member Shout-Outs, Listing/ Closing Updates, questions on outstanding projects, or Goals
One-on-one meetings are a dedicated time for the Team Member and their Leader to connect on work, career development and growth. One on one meetings should be held every week for a minimum of 30 minutes. This is the perfect time to discuss the Team Members 4-1-1 or 1-3-5 goals.
Pro-tip: Each week there should be time blocks on your calendar Team Meetings, for Daily Huddles/ Stand Ups, and One on One meetings.
“If it is not on your calendar, it doesn’t exist.” -BOLD LAW
For new Team Members or Trainees, there is also the Daily Priority Report. The Daily Priority Report allows the Team Member or Trainee a chance to be more detailed in their daily communication with their Agent/ Leader. The Daily Priority Report should reflect what your true priorities are for the day. This is not a To Do List, but a priority list. What MUST get done today. At the end of the day, you will evaluate the list and mark through what you did get completed and notate what needs to be moved to the next day if necessary.
If your Team does not already have Weekly Team Meetings, Daily Huddles/ Stand Ups, or One on One Weekly meetings, schedule time with your Agent/ Leader to discuss adding them to the calendar.
Learn more about our Training Program at https://yourrealtyleverage.com/training/
I like to work. Working brings me joy. I like being productive and making a difference through the work I do. Over the years, I have found that I’m more productive when I’m busy. I get energy from putting in the hard work and seeing results. It means I’m contributing! Every now and then, I am tasked with something that I don’t know how to do or, more likely, that I don’t enjoy doing. And I have to make a choice on how to handle it. For years, my default has been to set aside the task and move on to something else. By doing this week after week, day after day, I inevitably reach a critical point at which the task is staring me in my face and there is no way to avoid it. This situation puts me in a state of frustration and panic. I get anxious. I may even feel a little uneasy due to the uncertainty around completing the task by a given deadline. I become frustrated with myself for procrastinating… AGAIN. And I vow to NEVER PROCRASTINATE AGAIN. I make a promise to myself that I will avoid the dark shadow of procrastination when presented with the next important, but unfamiliar task. And yet the vicious cycle continues.
Am I a failure? No. Am I a horrible person? No. Do I need to make better choices about prioritizing my time? Absolutely. I NEED TO EAT THE FROG.
“Eat the frog?,” you may ask. Ewww. Yuck. And what does that have to do with procrastinating anyway?
In 2017, Brian Tracy, a U.S.-based productivity coach, wrote and published a book called Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time. If you distill the book down into one very basic idea, it’s that you need to focus on completing the most important, challenging, uncomfortable task first and foremost, and then move on to other tasks. And you have to do this day after day to achieve your highest level of productivity.
This notion of eating the frog did not enter my world until a few years ago when I found myself leading a team of agents and operations staff members. I would mark my calendar with meetings to manage and tasks to complete. I would tackle my routine tasks like inputting the “scheduled, kept, taken, pending, and closed” units for my agents, prepping slide decks for weekly meetings and presentations, planning for and meeting with team members to conduct their 411s, and yet I always found myself with a list of things I needed to accomplish that I kept putting off. As I analyzed the list, I realized that every item remaining on my list was something new to me. I needed to take more time and focus to complete the tasks on my list than I did for other more routine tasks. At the advice of my MAPs Coach, I listened to the book Eat That Frog. And it has been at the top of my mind ever since.
I decided to focus on implementing Tracy’s advice on a Monday in May. Our team had prioritized re-structuring our listing intake system for the past month or so. Our current system was not well-defined. Everytime a listing came in, we handled information-gathering, listing prep, and going live in a different way. We had a checklist, but we sort of kind of followed it. We had forms, but we had no email templates prepared to use when sending the forms out to the seller. We had talked about changing our method, perhaps using an electronic form to collect information instead of handling it all over the phone and writing it down. And as our team grew and we took on more and more listings, it became more challenging and time consuming to manage each listing. I knew that by focusing on updating and streamlining our process our team would function better, our clients would be happier, and we would improve our quality of service. But I had never worked on updating a listing intake system before, so I just left it on my list and continued to avoid it.
Well, it was finally time to eat the frog. It was 9:10am already that Monday, though I had planned to begin at 9:00am. I was uncomfortable. My thoughts wandered. I looked around the room. I grabbed a glass of water. Picked at my fingernails. But I knew that by focusing on updating our listing system, we would be a better, stronger, more successful team. And I had read Brian Tracy’s book and was committed to eating the frog. So I sat at my desk and focused. I began to type. I searched on Google and pulled up websites for different real estate teams, and I learned about their processes. I gathered information on different electronic forms and methods of collecting information. I created a spreadsheet to document our system and listed some new ideas. As the morning went on, I realized I was making progress. By noon, I actually had a draft of a new listing intake process workflow to present to my team. I was able to improve our system by streamlining our intake process. I had followed Brian Tracy’s advice and I was able to accomplish my goal!
This was an important lesson to me. There had been so many hours and even days when I simply chose to avoid the task because it was unfamiliar to me. Yet when I took the time to prioritize this task and DO IT, it took me just a few hours to accomplish my goal. And it felt good!
Now, every time I have a task in front of me that is unfamiliar or that I do not enjoy doing, I think about frogs. Does this mean that I have completely stopped procrastinating and that I don’t put things off? NO WAY! But when I realize what I am doing, I think about how much time, energy, frustration, and anxiety I save by identifying the most challenging tasks first and tackling them head on. And I get to it and make it happen.
The world is ever changing and many of us find that our version of, “Going to Work” has changed a bit from how things were years ago. Some of us no longer have to take that car ride or train ride stressing over traffic or delays while heading to the office. For many of us, our workplace is now wherever our computer is. There are many great aspects of having the option to work remotely, however a big concern of not only employers but employees is perfecting the ability to stay connected in a remote workplace. Employers want to be sure that their team is staying committed and working together. They want to be sure that employees can brainstorm on projects and streamline communication so everyone can stay updated and grow as a team. Employees want to know that they can receive a response to a question within a reasonable amount of time or receive guidance when necessary. They want to know they aren’t alone in their workplace even though physically we may be far apart. It may not always be easy to find a balance- the great news is, it is possible!
Most people have that aunt, uncle or childhood friend that lives or moved to another state or country. Don’t we find ways to stay connected to them? We call, text, reach out via social media, or hop on a video call. So why do some people find it so difficult to stay connected in a virtual workplace? Nowadays people talk more in the virtual world than having a face to face conversation. Social Media allows ways to stay connected to the masses. Just because we don’t see everyone in person doesn’t mean it is impossible to get to know one another and form lasting relationships. So how do we stay connected and engaged? What is the right answer? Simply, there is no one answer. There is no one size fits all solution. We need to remind ourselves that what is a good form of communication for one person may not be the best fit for another. We need to try different methods until you find what works best.
There are multiple opportunities and tools we can use to stay connected. You can use an app for your communication platform such as Slack, Staff base or Google Chat. You can manage tasks with programs like Monday.com, Smartsheet, or Asana. There are an abundance of tools at your fingertips to use to keep in communication throughout your day. Poor communication in a workplace is not due to the lack of programs available to utilize. In order for people to stay connected each employee must accept that a part of working remote, especially when on a team, is to commit yourself to staying connected and add in the extra effort to do so.
You can add fun ways to stay connected such as celebrating team birthdays. If your team does not already document when all birthdays are, take it upon yourself to make note in your calendar the next time it is someone’s special day. Then you can reach out, send a funny card or simply send a quick text to let them know you care. In the workplace a common gathering area is usually wherever the coffee is located. In the virtual world we may not be able to share a pot of coffee however you can set up a coffee break with a co-worker and pick up the phone and chat for your break. Try and keep the conversation away from workplace topics and stay focused on giving yourself the break you deserve.
Forming relationships is an integral part to ensure we are improving communication.
Teams can set up weekly or daily calls and have specific topics to discuss. By alternating topics (not all business related) you can get to know one another, on not only a work level, but get to know more about your coworkers’ personalities and interests. Teams can set up gatherings which can be done virtually or in person. If sticking to the virtual world there are many different classes that you can provide as options for employees to join. These options can be suggested during work hours but also as after work functions. You can suggest classes to improve different skills related to the job or find fun classes too, such as learning a new hobby. Virtual events could include painting parties, a virtual game show or trivia nights. Offering options such as these allow for great team building opportunities.
Each person in a company holds individual importance to the functionality of a business as a whole. If one part is missing or lacking the whole group does not succeed. You can avoid this by making sure your teams communication skills are constantly improving and evolving. There are so many different ways we can stay connected but if you do not stick to the 3 C’s no number of apps, classes or events will help. The 3 C’s are: Create. Consistent. Communication.
We need to work on each of these items as a whole and Create Consistent Communication while also working at these three items individually.
Create: We all look to create the next best thing in the workplace. Whether that is creating a goal, creating a new product, creating a better way to systemize or a way to make a company succeed or improve. It is important to push ourselves and always be raising the standard of what success is to us. This can only be done by creating an environment for success. By opening the doors for communication to flow freely.
Consistent: It is important to stick to what you say you will do. Make sure you reply within a timely manner when someone reaches out. Setting clear and concise structure on expectations in regards to communication responses is important to maintaining consistency. Not only is it important to stay consistent with your timeliness and dependability you must stay consistent with your quality of work. Working in a remote world it is always great to reach out and have someone give their feedback. This is an excellent way to get a chance to engage with your team one on one and strengthen communication.
Communication: Communicating does not have to be done only in a verbal manner. You can reach out to coworkers by emailing, texting or by setting up a video call. Find what suits you best, and also utilize all of the options available to us in this modern world. There is no reason that reaching out and communicating should be difficult.
Each employee holds their own unique importance but together it means so much more and we can achieve so much more. This is the same as these three simple words. It is a choice to stay connected in the outside world as it is in the virtual world. You can be an introvert in either situation but it is the sole responsibility of every remote employee or employer to dedicate yourself to finding a way that works best for you to let your personality shine and create memorable conversation.
It is your job to Create.
It is your job to be Consistent.
It is your job to Communicate.