News from the Chicago Chapter
By Stephen G. Schimmel, CPM®
McLennan Property Management
IREM Chicago 2019 Treasurer
From September 26 to 28, I had the pleasure of attending three impactful days of speakers and seminars on a variety of real estate management topics relevant today. Attending the event, the IREM 2018 Global Summit held in Hollywood Florida, was like drinking from a fire hose of knowledge.
Two sessions I attended dealt with one of the average American’s greatest fears -- public speaking. The sessions were different, but both offered equally important lessons on how to use our greatest business tool: Ourselves, but most importantly, our voice.
Vinh Giang spoke on using our voice as our greatest tool in business, and Lee Silber spoke on the gift of gab, or finding common ground with others to enhance our interactions.
Vihn spoke on the use of our voice, but also one thing that sets apart people who are “good speakers” and those that are not. That one thing is confidence. People who have confidence in themselves, what they are going to talk about, their company and the services they provide are viewed as better speakers, presenters and are more likely to be recognized than those who do not express the same confidence. Some would say that you must practice public speaking, which certainly helps, but self confidence is all about you and belief if yourself to do what you have set out to accomplish.
The second part of Vihn’s talk focused on five foundations of communication. These five areas help you engage your audience and convey your message whether it is to one person or hundreds. When you don’t understand the foundations noted below, what you communicate may not be understood as clearly by your audience.
- Rate of Speech. How fast or slow you speak. When you speak slowly you speak to teach and be understood or convey importance. When you speak fast if conveys intensity and excitement.
- Volume. When trying to convey an exciting idea, speaking in a quiet tone presents a disconnect between your attitude and expression. The volume of your voice speaks to your attitude about a specific topic.
- This is varying the frequency of our voice. A monotone speaker is boring and hard to remember. But someone who varies their pitch is more engaging to listen to
- Tonality. This is the essence of feeling your words as they come out. It may be rolling the letter “R” off your tongue or giving emphasis to a certain part of a word. How you shorten or elongate parts of a word can infer different feelings.
- Pause. Silence is golden, even when speaking. If you talk without breathing, without giving pause, the audience has no opportunity to grasp what was just said. When you let a statement linger in a pause is expresses emphasis, if tells the listener to ponder that last statement. Better yet, it gives the speaker the ability to think for a second, so you can be prepared for the next part of your line.
Lee Silber’s talk on the Gift of Gab was a simple reminder that “gabbing” is a skill that needs to be practiced. Gabbing is speaking with eloquence and frequency. You can practice with anyone, keeping in mind the above five foundations of communications. However, the first step in being a good conversationalist (gabber) is to LISTEN. When you can let other people shine and find out what they need, you are on your way to an engaging conversation. One of human nature’s greatest needs is to connect with others. When you listen to others they feel connected and open up, allowing natural, comfortable conversations to take place.
These principles do not just apply to giving a formal presentation, but to all conversations. You will notice in conversations with close friends that you likely use many of the five foundations to speaking without even knowing it. Likewise, you are a good friend to someone because you listened and got to know them. The next step to improving presenting or “gabbing” is to move to intentionality in how we choose to speak and how we choose to listen. When you are intentional about not just the words you say, but how you say them and how you listen to others, you are headed to becoming more confident and a better speaker.