of facial expression, or minimal eye contact may indicate the person is defensive or not responding well
to your message. Conversely, someone who is alert,
making eye contact, and using hand gestures while
talking often signifies an engaged, interested listener.
These subtle body movements and gestures are often
an indication of how we feel. By becoming more
attuned to the messages conveyed through body
language you’ll be far better equipped to understand
how someone is feeling and ensure you’re sending the
right non-verbal signals back.
Keep Your Emotions in Check. In the mortgage
industry where we’re often dealing with tight deadlines, mounds of paperwork that can sometimes frustrate clients, and a heap of complicated details, it’s not
unusual for clients to occasionally feel overwhelmed
during the process. In short, emotions can sometimes
run high. A good rule of thumb to remember is never
compromise your professionalism at the expense of
your emotions. Additionally, with the increased use
of smart phones, social media, telecommuting, and
abbreviated emails, a lot can get lost in the translation making it difficult to interpret the intended tone.
This leaves us wide open to miscommunication and
unintended conflict. Always assume best intentions in
all your interactions with clients and colleagues and, if
questions arise or clarification is required, pick up the
phone or schedule a face-to-face meeting to mitigate
Respect Communication Preferences. Not
everyone prefers to communicate in the same way.
Face-to-face interaction may appeal to some, while
email, texting, social media, or instant messaging may
be the preferred method for others. Respect the person you’re communicating with and use the method
they seem to prefer. If you’ve taken the time to call a
client several times and they never pick up, but they’re
swift to reply via a text, it’s wise to switch to texting.
Keep it Brief. Nearly everyone can at some point
recall receiving a five paragraph email that could have
quite easily been summed up in three sentences. To
avoid being the author of those long, annoying emails
always remember the acronym BRIEF – Background,
Reason, Information, End, and Follow-Up. When writ-
ing emails, offer background information if needed,
state the reason why your communication is neces-
sary, highlight the information and/or question you’re
asking, close or summarize the email, and, most impor-
tantly, always follow up.
Get Personal. If your ultimate goal with clients is
to develop deeper, long-lasting relationships, consider
dialing your professionalism and formality down just
a notch. People tend to let their guard down when
they deal with people who genuinely care about them
and what’s happening in their lives. Ask about their
children, their recent Hawaiian vacation, plans for the
holidays, or share a story that they can connect with
emotionally. Being an “all work and no play” type of
individual may work for a while; however, to build lasting relationships, you’ll need to strive to connect on a
Exercise Assertive Communication. When most
people hear the words “assertive communication,”
it immediately brings to mind hostility and aggression. On the contrary, assertive communication has
far more to do with effective communication and
understanding the other person rather than winning
an argument, standing your ground, or forcing your
opinions on others. Direct, assertive expression paves
the way for clear communication by directly and concisely expressing your thoughts, feelings, and needs in
a manner that is perceived as honest, transparent, and
confident. After all, for others to value your opinions
and thoughts you must first value them yourself.
Becoming a better communicator is a skill you may
not perfect overnight. It takes practice; however, in the
long run, it will help you deepen your connections and
build trust with clients and colleagues, improve your
ability to work as a team, enhance your problem solving skills, and help you avoid conflict or ambiguity.
Kathy Gyselinck is Executive Vice President of Southeast
Mortgage, the largest non-bank lender in Georgia. She
may be reached at Kathy.Gyselinck@southeastmortgage.