Magazine article Journal of Property Management

The Power of Persuasion

Magazine article Journal of Property Management

The Power of Persuasion

Article excerpt

Maya has a problem. The renovation project on her complex's community center is behind schedule, and the residents are complaining because they cannot use the pool. Each time Maya telephones the contractor's office, she speaks with a different person who promises that the work will be done immediately...but the project is still not finished.

Finally, Maya writes a letter to the contractor. She clearly states what she wants the contractor to do - establish a schedule that results in completing the renovation within four weeks and stick to the schedule. She reinforces her message with reasons the contractor should do what she wants him to do, including the consequences of failing to complete the project as promised.

Maya's letter gets results. She receives a new schedule the next day, and the renovation project is completed within a month.

Of course, not every problem can be solved by writing clearly. But written communication is an excellent way to focus on issues and make sure people understand what you wish to convey. In fact, the ability to communicate clearly and concisely in writing is an asset for any real estate manager, since it will help you influence your reader and accomplish your goals.

Think About The Message

To write clearly, begin by thinking about the reason you are writing. Sometimes your purpose is primarily to inform - to provide information readers need. When writing to inform, be sure to include pertinent information that answers your readers' questions about the subject.

An example of informative writing is a letter explaining changes in rental policies. You would include information to answer such questions as what the new policies are, why policies are being changed, and when the change will take place. If you are planning to raise rents, explain to your audience why the rents are being raised, when the rent increase takes effect, and what, if any, benefits your audience might receive. Your primary objective is to provide enough information to notify your reader about an item that will affect their lives. It is important to be as specific as possible when writing an informative letter.

However, once in a while your primary purpose for writing is to influence readers - to persuade or convince them to take some kind of action. Readers need to understand not only what action they should take, but they need to be convinced to take this action because it would be beneficial to them.

Suppose you are writing a letter to persuade property owners to use the services of your management company. What information would be most convincing to your readers? In order to determine whether to hire your company, the property owners need to know how they would benefit from your services. They need to know how your qualifications would enable you do the best possible job. And the letter should stress ways in which your services are superior to those they are currently using. Will your services save them time or money? Will your services offer better quality work? Is your management company able to retain tenants better than the current firm? This is the kind of information needed to convince someone to use your services.

Providing your reader with the right information is important, but it does not guarantee that you will write an effective letter. If you want readers to understand your message and take your points seriously, it is important to plan your writing carefully. Here are some steps to follow:

* Think about the subject from your reader's point of view.

* Focus on your main point.

* Determine what facts and ideas to include.

Put Yourself in Their Shoes

It is easy to get so caught up in the task of writing that you forget you are writing to real people. Unfortunately, if you think about the subject only from your own point of view, you tend to focus on information that interests or convinces you, limiting your ability to persuade and influence your readers. …

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