Communication (or more precisely, the lack of it) is often the #1 complaint voiced at condominium annual general meetings. Here are 7 ways you could be sabotaging your communication:
#1. Use cork bulletin boards
Aside from being outdated, traditional bulletin boards are limited to one message at a time and need a person onsite to physically replace pieces of paper – not an efficient use of time or money. Invest in a digital elevator screen instead. It’s by far the most powerful tool for reaching the most residents, the most often because nearly everyone has to ride the elevator to get to their unit. Townhome complexes? More challenging, but consider sharing a link or providing a picture-frame screen at each unit’s front door.
#2. Rely on email
Most people simply don’t open their email. In condos, this will often depend on whether your information is “selfie or “healthy”, but MailChimp reports an average open rate across all industries as just 20.81%, which means nearly 80 percent get ignored! Email is important, but only if the reader is compelled to open it. That can be a challenge when it comes to informing residents about the topics that save the condo money.
#3. Ignore your audience
Downsizing empty-nesters can have a different mindset than urban millennials. Owners often have a different point of view then renters. Discover your audience – learn who they are and how they perceive themselves and adapt your communication accordingly. Otherwise, ignore your audience and they’ll ignore you.
#4. Post PDF and Word documents
Posting hard-to-read pdfs or Word documents is a sure-fire way to get your audience to tune out. Marketing experts estimate that the average person sees between 4,000 and 10,000 ads each day, which means your full-page notice filled with numerous lines of tiny text is likely to get filtered out. It’s easy to pull up a document from last year, change the date and re-use, but while that might work as an email backup with all the details included, it’s far too much info for the average resident to notice or absorb to simply get the basic info they need to stay in touch with what’s happening. Pare it down, and pair it with a pic.
#5. Keep secrets
It’s important to provide regular updates from the Board of Directors. One of the main complaints from condo residents is that they don’t have a sense of what’s going in the building. They don’t know what decisions are made by the board on a monthly basis, so are taken by surprise when they see signs of money being spent. That can get the rumour mill started… I once met a woman who was quite upset at the sight of workmen in her condo’s underground garage; she assumed that there was structural damage and that her investment was at risk. Telling residents well in advance prevents grumbling and leaving things up to the imagination, which is usually a lot worse than reality!
#6. Put ads in your building
Most condo boards value a sense of community, and a surefire way to sabotage that is to plaster advertisements all over the elevator. While many boards like to think of ads as a good way to offset the cost of an elevator screen, the reality is that the few bucks brought in by a couple of advertisers is not worth the projected image of the building being more commercial than homey. Especially when the advertisers are realtors. Imagine coming home every night only to be reminded to move out!
#7. Show the same old notices
If the same notices are showing over and over, the audience gets bored and stops looking. It’s a huge job to keep content fresh and engaging and it’s beyond the scope of most managerial job descriptions. In most cases, a property manager does not have the time or skill set to “feed the beast” and design and create notices on a regular basis. It’s all they can do to keep up and provide the “dailies” like window washing, garage power washes, etc. Keep content fresh and it’ll be a big help especially these days when there’s a shortage of condominium property managers. An added bonus: Educated residents save the condo corporation even more time and money!
Keep alert for the signs of sabotage, and you’ll be on your way to improving communication in your condo. Don’t forget, you can always call me for help.