Part of the reason Associa has remained a trusted partner to community associations over the past 45 years is due to our commitment to communication and transparency. Effective communication is key to fostering good relationships and connecting with others. But communicating is more than just talking; it’s about being an active listener, too.
Strong communication is crucial to supporting a strong community. As leaders in managed communities know, residents look to you for guidance and support. You’re expected to be attentive and address needs promptly. To encourage interaction and cultivate an atmosphere of openness, here are five ways boards can improve their communication and listening skills today.
1. Provide opportunities for communication. Always provide a way for community members to speak up and get in contact with you—whether that’s by phone, email, or in person at a board meeting. Emphasize to residents that you want to hear from them.
2. Ask open-ended questions. Open-ended questions invite discussion and idea sharing. Use a regular meeting, a community event, or an online chat as an opportunity to get homeowner input. Some questions that can get a conversation going include: What would you like to see the community achieve this year? How would you rate the effectiveness of our current communication efforts?
3. Keep an open mind. Listening helps form common ground and manage conflicts. Clear your mind of any preconceived notions, avoid interjecting, and take all discussions as ones that could benefit you and the community.
4. Show empathy. How you manage and respond to an issue is important. Be empathetic, and when talking to a resident, put yourself in their shoes. Take a step back from your own emotions and beliefs and try to see things from their perspective.
5. Don’t rush to find a resolution. You don’t need to have the perfect response or an immediate solution for everything. Be honest about needing additional time to respond, if necessary. A patient approach gives you time to consider what’s been said and think of the best way to turn words into action.
Improving listening skills is a great way for board members to strengthen communication efforts. By knowing how to speak out and listen in, you’re well prepared to lead your community with confidence.