Are We Losing the Fine Art of Face-To-Face Communication?

Real Estate Agent with GreatWest Realty DRE# 00827565

Social Networking - Is it as effective of a marketing tool as we think, or are we simply evolving into beings who avoid real face to face communication? 

I've shuffled around awhile.  Without telling you my exact age, I will explain that I'm a pre-boomer, pre-gen-x, and just about pre anyone left shuffling around at all.

When I was a kid, we had a phone that was on a "party" line.  Party lines weren't something you dialed an "800" number for and had billed by the minute to your credit card.  They were phone lines you shared with a few other phone company customers.  You hoped when you needed to phone, someone else wasn't already on the line.

In 1983 when my first computer, an Apple IIE, was purchased, I had a grandson, just 2½ years old, who showed me how to use the keyboard arrow keys to make Jill jump over Jack in a game, on the computer screen.  I was amazed.   Not that the computer could do that, in the old pre Windows 3.1 environment; but that my grandkid already knew how to make it work.

So it has been with the advancement of computers, the internet, newsgroups, Facebook, blogs, and The Twitter (as Betty White calls it).

It was easy for us to embrace the idea of computers in the real estate industry.  After all, in the early years of my career, 36 years ago, the MLS was something we received in book form, delivered to our office, once a week on Saturday mornings.  I can still remember the antiquated first MLS computer with the Microfiche sitting on the counter, right next to it.

In 1981, there were virtually no agents with cell phones, and I believe I may have been one of the first Sacramento agents, if not the first agent, to get a pager.  I needed to feel connected.  Not so much for clients, but for my kids.

With email, we discovered the delight of communication, which was less intrusive.  We were able to time manage better by using email.  Only when we wanted to did we move our lips to talk with people!

In recent years, there has been a whole new lingo originated with the advent of texting.  I wonder if the average citizen less than 40 years old can construct a proper sentence any longer.  Everything is in a staccato shorthand version of life, being transported unseen, across the planet in milliseconds, with an emoji or two tossed in.

I sometimes wonder how folks endlessly Facebooking, Tweeting, and blogging, have any time to truly manage their business.  I recently attended a wedding. During the ceremony, I heard two cell phones go off.   And, during the reception, many folks couldn't seem to manage a complete sentence at the dinner without being compelled to answer a text message, or cell call.  This was on a Saturday night.  Most everyone we knew were at the wedding.  Usual business hours were over!

Perhaps we are taking the easy way out.  Rather than picking up the phone to do a little old fashioned networking, which could subject us to rejection, we compose and send endless social networking tweets and posts instead.

Have we lost the fine art of face-to-face communication?  I'm curious what you think about the direction communication has taken, and which we seem so compelled to follow.  What are your thoughts?



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Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

I do think some agents and clients prefer to not communication face to face or actual voice to voice.  This is sad to me, as I like to promote some sort of relationship during the transaction.  


Jun 06, 2018 12:20 PM #49
Joe Pryor
The Virtual Real Estate Team - Oklahoma City, OK
REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties

I love computers and what tech can do for us and i was an early adopter for websites.l However much of my business now comes from speaking at investor seminars so the tech makes the contract easier but the face to face is totally productive.

Jun 06, 2018 03:27 PM #50
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

It is certainly a whole new world!

I spent the afternoon visiting with my aunt at an assisted living home. My parents came with me. We met lots of my aunt's new friends and stayed for Bingo. Not a cell phone in sight. (except mine on the table, which I only used a couple of times to take some pics to share with family)

It was a very pleasant change of pace!

Jun 06, 2018 04:13 PM #51
Theresa Akin

I have always been pretty shy and meek and mild. Wouldn't say crap if I had a mouthful. i was a phone operator out of high school then became a hairdresser. I thought it would help me deal with the public easier and it did. Also my first real experience with disclosure only people were lying about using box color at home in their kitchen. It did help prepare me for real estate as far as meeting people face to face. I was able to determine if we, the sellers or buyers and myself, would be able to have a decent relationship in buying or selling.  On the phone you don't see their facial expressions. We all know we can pretty much distinguish the truth or not just my the way it shows on their face and in their body language. I really hate texting with one exception, feedback. When showing property, I have the listing agent's number in my contact and ready to go. I give feedback as we tour the home. By the time we're out the door, the feedback is sent. I will communicate to my clients via their choice. I may not always like it but sometimes we have to do it their way. Just wish it wasn't 3:00 a.m. They get a response to that after 8:00 a.m.

Jun 06, 2018 06:32 PM #52
Joyce Marsh
Regal | Christie's International Real Estate - Orlando, FL
Regional Manager Regal Christie's Int'l Realty

I admit I love texting and it does make it easy to convey a message quickly and efficiently. When it’s something that needs to be discussed in depth I always pick up the phone or meet face to face. 

Jun 06, 2018 11:15 PM #53
Dan Wilkins
Skyline Properties Inc. - Everett, WA
For all of your real Estate needs

This is a comment I made to a client a couple days ago to start the process of buying an other home.,,,,,,,, We can do business like we have done in the past (about 25 years ago), like physically showing homes, getting together for signatures, calling up to deal with concerns or I can set every thing up in a way that I would never have to see you again And we will get the job done. We kind of laughed and had a little discussion about the evolution of communication.

Jun 07, 2018 09:42 AM #54
John Wiley
Right Move Real Estate Group- EXP Realty - Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL, ECO Broker, GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

I often txt, but not because that is my method of choice. I feel it is too limiting for good exchange of information.

I like face to face, because peoples faces talk. In person I can see expression and that often conveys more information than their words do.

Jun 07, 2018 11:06 AM #55
Jane Chaulklin-Schott
TEAMCONNECT REALTY - (407) 394-9766 - Orlando, FL
TeamConnect Luxury Homes - Orlando, Florida, 32836

Recently I had a friend who traveled from China to the USA.  I laughed when she told me her experience of sitting in a number of airports along the way and watching other people.  She said that she couldn't imagine what everyone was one was talking to one another, but almost all the people were holding something small in their hand and looking down.  Of course, we know they were holding their cell phones....she is not exactly tech savvy :)

Jun 07, 2018 01:21 PM #56
Richard Hartman
Springbok Realty - Jupiter, FL
"We are an INVESTMENT, not an EXPENSE!"

Not lost, but not yet learned by some.  At the end of the day, you will never beat a face-to-face meet.  Watch the eyes, the smile, the nervous ticks, whatever.  You learn more about someone by meeting with them.  Now, with all the communication tools available to us, there is certainly NO EXCUSE for not communicating important and urgent things like "I'm running late", or I need to change our appointment", or whatever.  But I do not think that any of them will replace a face-to face meet.  Those that continue to untilize this will have an advantage.  

Jun 07, 2018 05:33 PM #57
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Myrl, not only are we losing the face to face but at the same time we are losing, politeness, courtesy, caring and kindness they are all bundled together on the way out...Endre

Jun 07, 2018 11:00 PM #58
Monique Ting
INET Realty Honolulu, HI - Honolulu, HI
Your agent under the sun

Myrl, the world is continually changing and I think that our best strategy is to embrace the changes and go with the flow. We are indeed lucky to live in these times but even luckier that our pre-"social networking era" experience comes in handy when we have to deal with clients who prefer face-to-face or phone communication. And yes, maybe the young generation will have to re-learn those skills... Aloha!

Jun 08, 2018 01:32 PM #59
Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS
RE/MAX Northwest. - Tacoma, WA
Tacoma Washington Agent/Broker & Market Authority!

I just had to chime again on this subject Myrl. It has gotten to the point where you'll be sitting in the room with somebody and they are texting with somebody else and think that you're part of the conversation. That's why I love face-to-face communication....

Jun 08, 2018 11:05 PM #60
Pat Champion
Coldwell Banker Camelot Realty - Mount Dora, FL
Call the "CHAMPION" for all your real estate needs

Great post I know all things change with time and adjusting is part of it but there are time when I still prefer face to face; or, at least a phone conversation. Thanks for sharing I hope you are enjoying your weekend.

Jun 09, 2018 08:09 AM #61
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

I think we see swings in our society. Right now we are in a tech age and it's literally in our face everywhere we go.  I do think we all need face-to-face and remain optimistic about things.  One of these days, we'll look up and see the faces around us smiling back. 

Jun 09, 2018 08:10 AM #62
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Good Morning Myrl Jeffcoat - I'm afraid the more people text and stay on Social Media the harder it will be for them to do a face-to-face for fear others won't like what they look like. I also doubt many would be recognizable anymore and the longer they prolong the face-to-face, the less likely they will be really sociable at all. 

Jun 10, 2018 05:03 AM #63
M.C. Dwyer
Century 21 Showcase REALTORs - Felton, CA
Santa Cruz Mountains Property Specialist

Such a great conclusion to a thoughtful post. Is over using tech a way to avoid rejection?

Jun 10, 2018 04:38 PM #64
Debbie Reynolds
Platinum Properties - Clarksville, TN
Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent

I definitely think it has changed. For the first time in a long time I only got one phone call today but several texts and emails.

Jun 10, 2018 06:42 PM #65
Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate
John L Scott Market Center - Birkenfeld, OR
"Your Local Expert!" 503-755-2905

Actually, I'm not a big fan of the phone. Never have been. For me, having e-mail, text gives me the chance to have a papertrail of sorts. I'm not good at remembering conversations that I hear. My memory is more visual than auditory. I just had this discussion with a close girlfriend yesterday, who spent copious amounts of time on the phone in her job, and she "hates the phone"! 

Jun 12, 2018 07:49 AM #66
Ricardo Mello
Manhattan Miami Real Estate - Manhattan, NY
Manhattan & Miami Real Estate Agent

Yes we are

Jun 16, 2018 01:29 PM #67
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Jun 26, 2018 01:14 AM #68
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