Sunday, 29 March 2015

Communication Skills & Building Management

Communication is an essential part of our lives. Since we are born we start to develop our communication skill so that we can interact with others and articulate our thoughts and feelings. In our adult lives we learn that apart from our daily lives we also have to communicate on a professional level within our working environment and in social set ups. The means of communication have also multiplied within a short period in the recent times.  With the advancement in technology we can now communicate through emails,text messages etc. It is therefore important as a professional that we learn to communicate both verbally and in writing. To get our message across and to ensure effectiveness and efficiency it is important that we have the ability as a professional to communicate clearly. 

Just like any other profession, communication skill is essential in the building management industry. In recent times, the nature of communication skills that a building manager should have, have changed rapidly and I find that a lot of the more experienced building managers are struggling to adapt to this changes. 

Why is communication important for a building manager? First and foremost a building manager has to deal with tenants and/or owners in a building. On top of that building managers must also deal with contractors and other vendors involved in the maintenance of the building. A building manager bridges the gap between the contractors and building residents or tenants. Why do i say that the nature of communication skills that a building manager should have, have changed in recent times? The answer is simple, two reasons, globalisation and advanced technology. 

The effect of globalisation have crept in and affect the way we live more than we sometimes care to admit. These days you can find people from different parts of the world living or working under one roof. As a result building managers now need to deal with a diverse  group of tenants or residents with different culture and background. A building manager now more than ever has to be tactful in the way they communicate. The contractors that a building manager now work with are also from different countries, therefore they will need to adapt the way their communicate so that foreign workers and vendors can understand them and deliver. 

Advanced technology also means that building managers are dealing with a well informed clientele. They will therefore need to know and understand every aspect of their job and deliver the right information and be credible to the tenants and/or owners. 

Building management is a service oriented industry. There is no product to sell or promote, you, the building manager, are the product. For a company providing building management service, your staffs are your product. The only way you can differentiate yourself from your competitors is through having a competent group of staff working for you. One of the many ways you can improve your service standard is to improve communication between the building managers and building occupiers. 

Communication is important in creating and maintaining relationship between building managers and building tenants/residents. Often building managers fails to see the importance of communication with building tenants and residents. A simple greeting and smile goes a long way and treating their building related problems like it is your own goes a long way and speaks volume about your customer service. Building managers need to be skilled in handling complains and one important factor which enables one to handle complains effectively and professionally is communication. The power or rather importance of communication in the building industry must therefore not be underestimated. I have seen experienced managers who are very knowledgeable and experienced in the building industry  be called a bad building manager despite their vast technical knowledge in building maintenance. Your knowledge does not mean much f your cannot articulate it to the intended recipient. It can be easily undermined if you do not have a good communication skill. 

I strongly feel that building management companies should send their staffs on training programs to improve their communication skills. Develop or improve your “products”. Equip them with knowledge and most importantly with communication skills because from my observation, a lot of residents or building tenants will initially judge a building manager by how well they communicate. It is no good to have knowledge but unable to communicate it. In an industry where dealing with angry, disgruntled people is a norm, having good communication skills  will certainly allow building managers to handle these people efficiently and effectively. Once a building manager is able to handle more and more disgruntled residents more effectively, a building manager will find handling complains a less daunting task and will be happier to serve the building occupiers, thus improving the service standard. And to state the obvious, this will have a direct positive impact on the company’s reputation in the industry. The building tenants or residents’ opinion a building management company largely depends on the building manager on site.  The behaviour of just one person can have a huge impact on how your company as a whole is perceived. 

Communication skill is not just restricted to verbal communication but it also encompasses writing, listening and body language. Rest assured I will touch and go into depth on communication skills in my future blog entries.