Buying and selling real estate can be stressful for the entire family. In times of family stress, communication often breaks down. However, there are several ways to improve communication to find consensus amid the chaos.
- Improve Confidence and Body Language
Eye contact – Engage others by looking them in the eye while speaking and listening. Don’t squint (which looks mean). Looking over a person’s head says, “I’m superior;” looking down appears small and meek; looking to either side appears untrustworthy.
Posture – Sit or stand up straight. Slumping gives the appearance of trying to disappear and melt away, visually indicating that you, and what you say, isn’t really that important.
Don’t fidget – Rubbing your hands together repeatedly, tucking or twisting your hair, picking at your nails (or even looking at your hands) when you speak all indicate a lack of confidence.
- Improve the Quality of Your Speech
Lower your timbre – Deeper, richer tones are preferable to high, tinny voices. Notice where your voice comes from—your sinus cavity (bad), your throat (ok), or deeper in your chest (best).
Watch the tone – Snippy, hard-edged responses, even when unintentional, are cutting to those who listen. Keep your tone welcoming and friendly.
Slow it down – Talking too quickly can make you appear nervous and out of control.
- Be More Pleasant
Stay positive – No one wants to listen to constant negativity.
Don’t gossip – Gossiping to someone makes them assume you will be gossiping about them next.
Smile – This simple act is reassuring to listeners and helps them feel accepted—which in turn makes them more interested in what you have to say.
Listen – Don’t mentally rehearse what you are going to say next while someone else is talking. Instead, stay focused on listening and asking for more information to demonstrate that you care about them, and what they have to say.
Your role in the family may help or hurt your ability to be heard during important conversations. These tips, however, will help you to be heard regardless of your birth order or position in the family hierarchy.