Writing Impassioned-Opinion Blog Posts

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Realty, Ann Arbor, MI

opinionated people www.drphil.comBeing opinionless has never been my problem.  Being discreet about my opinion, well, I only occasionally have managed that.  I once got into trouble for a blog post, actually just a response to a blog post, that ended up costing me quite a few dollars and within certain circles damaged my reputation as well.  It was not identifiable to client in any way except decision processes, but when condemned I confessed.  I am nothing if not truthful.  It wasn't my finest moment.

Tonight I almost did it again.  I read an article on CNN and thought a particular Congressperson had the perspective all wrong on a point.  I have never written to a government official before but decided it was time to start.  I composed my letter on the contact website, perfected it, then, right before sending I erased it - just like so many blogs I have written here since the incident previously mentioned.

Am I afraid?  In a word, yes.  I am afraid of the negative consequences of speaking my mind - on big public topics that beg for opinion, and on little topics that I feel like commenting on.  Real estate is not that great inMichgan_the mitten state Michigan to allow me to offend anyone.  Gaining fans with my opinion?  Like that old adage, they'll be ten complaints for something done wrong to every one praise for something done right.  How do I know beforehand if my opinion is "wrong" or "right"?

In the interest of my business right now, I don't dare risk it.  I must say though, I am getting mighty bored and there will come a time when this top will blow.  The blogs I would write, the drafts on hold, I guess they will have to hold until the market turns and I have the luxury of losing clients.  We are getting there, I am getting there, the market having driven so many Ann Arbor area realtors out of the marketplace.  I am busy, even if the deals are low dollars.

I am looking forward to being myself again, tempered though, as life tends to do to us.  Underneath, understand that I will be seething, opinionated, impassioned, no matter how measured the words.  I have a lot to say and I can't wait to be talking again.

In the meantime, I could post stats and my listings, and do a lot of commenting.  I could recycle other people's topics in my own words (no plagiarism, that I promise), or supply links to expert opinions and hope to benefit from that.  I could re-blog too. 

You know what?  I don't want to do any of that.  I want to say what is on my mind, lose the potential clients who may not agree, and earn the clients who do agree.  I like original thoughts; I am quirky like that.  For the moment though, mum is me.  I am hoping 2009 will allow the changes I need to see.  Things are looking good so far but it is too early to tell. 

I hate being vanilla.butter pecan ice cream  Butter pecan is my passion and I truly despise mint chocolate anything.  I can't get into too much trouble with these ice cream admisssions, can I?  One never knows....       


Comments (21)

Susan Walters
Keller Williams Realty, Ann Arbor, MI - Ann Arbor, MI

I think I've been there before occasionally Shane, most likely personally rather than professionally - hope to not ever be that far off track on any point again though!

Mar 15, 2009 04:48 PM
Kate Bourland
Marketing with Kate - Redding, CA
Onlilne Marketing Mobile Marketing

I disagree with you - I think that showing your opinion can bring loyal customers.  There is a fine line, I realize.  I too tend to speak my mind too much - there is nothing better than a good debate.

In terms of your Ice Cream choices - I'm not so sure that you can't get in trouble stating those.  Remember the furor when George Bush Sr. said that he hated Brocolli.  He later came out and said that Barbara loved Broccoli.  Gotta be careful!

Mar 15, 2009 04:50 PM
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

My husband is sure we are on multiple watch lists because I like you can not keep my mouth shut.  I have opinions and I shout them from the roof tops, blog about them (although if I need to rant) I try to remember to make it members only but you check back just a few short posts ago you will see that I don't always succeed in that, and I write my elected officials and sometimes yours *not really YOURS per say, but any elected official I see saying really stupid stuff on the news.  I am constantly writing "madam speaker", recently I've just been addressing her Look nancy!

What I found really funny was I hate Mint Chocolate anything too.  But oh well, not really butter pecan fan either... I'm a fruity girl... strawberry, peaches and last summer I made some yummy blueberry ice cream.  Jeez I got off topic.

So if you think you are really gonna blow hell just email me one of those posts in draft mode and I'll comment in private and I promise no getting into trouble.  I won't tell anyone.

Mar 15, 2009 04:51 PM
Susan Walters
Keller Williams Realty, Ann Arbor, MI - Ann Arbor, MI

Kate, I think my husband likes chocolate everything, including mint - does that help my case?  :)  By the way, I am incurable.  I cannot be silenced for long.  Those connections are necessary.  I make them even now once I find out where clients stand.  Then we bond, and real estate happens.

Mar 15, 2009 04:56 PM
Sharon Fleming
Real Living Realty Unlimited - Port St Lucie, FL
Realtor, Port St Lucie-Florida

Being upfront and honest at times yes does cost us....but it is always worth it....

Mar 15, 2009 05:01 PM
Susan Walters
Keller Williams Realty, Ann Arbor, MI - Ann Arbor, MI

Tammy, I was writing to a congressperson in Oklahoma, I think!  I live in Michigan!  I was just so appalled by the opinion that I wanted to send some sense to the person.  How arrogant is that?!  It's a personality trait we are born with.  My mother has infamous photos of me post-tantrum when only two.  My siblings were cool with toddler issues - why not me? 

Mar 15, 2009 05:02 PM
Susan Walters
Keller Williams Realty, Ann Arbor, MI - Ann Arbor, MI

Sharon, I can't do it any other way, no matter what the cost.  "If you don't earn, you learn."

Mar 15, 2009 05:06 PM
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

Susan, this is where I have to agree with Shane, some people are born to follow and some were born to change the world.  Sounds like you fell into the second group.  I just keep trying to make it better, one little chip at a time.  But 11 out 10 politicians have not a lick of common sense.  And it angers me to no end they get to do it on my dimes, nickles and frankly my dollars.  Go ahead, be arrogant. They way I see it... if we vote in the country then we get to voice our opinions.  And I have a sneaky suspicion that you voted too.

Mar 15, 2009 05:08 PM
Susan Walters
Keller Williams Realty, Ann Arbor, MI - Ann Arbor, MI

Tammy, Not only did I vote, I have so empowerd my children that my eldest (now 21) was a featured "local voice" writer in our paper in the heat of the primary debates - big spread with photos.  In the end, that is the influence I care to have had, on the next generation, particularly my own family.

Mar 15, 2009 05:17 PM
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

and you never know... it may be on of your kids who changes the entire world, because of the positive influence you are in their lives.  My oldest will be 21 in June.  Glad I happened on your post tonight.  I have the feeling we have lots in common.

Mar 15, 2009 05:29 PM
Tim Maitski
Atlanta Communities Real Estate Brokerage - Atlanta, GA
Truth, Excellence and a Good Deal

I know exactly how you feel.  I'm probably on all kinds of government watch lists.  I read articles on news sites and feel compelled to email the authors. I struggle with the same dilema. 

But then I imagine myself back in the 30s in Germany.  Would I stay quiet and go with the flow or would I stand up for what is right?  Would I fight publicly or would I try to fight beneath the radar?  Would I stay and fight or would I protect my family and leave.  Whatever you decide, you have to be able to live the rest of your life and feel good about your decision.   For me, it comes down to figuring out what my core priciples are and not being afraid to show them come hell or high water. 

Mar 15, 2009 11:56 PM
Susan Walters
Keller Williams Realty, Ann Arbor, MI - Ann Arbor, MI

Tammy,  I would love it if one of my children makes that kind of difference, but I am pretty confident that they will lead by example if in no other way.

Mar 16, 2009 06:57 AM
Susan Walters
Keller Williams Realty, Ann Arbor, MI - Ann Arbor, MI

Tim, I sometimes wonder if I have made any watch lists but the kinds of things I usually get excited about are not treason-worthy.  Reluctance to fund/expand Amtrak as an alternate transportation source was a recent one where I assumed loyalists to the oil industry were influencing those decisions.  Another one was regarding HeadStart.  Everyone knows HeadStart works and pays for itself in the reduced need for remedial programs in future years - what is the problem?!  I tend to shy away from the much more serious issues of torture, civil rights violations, etc. just because there are more qualified people than me fighting those battles.  You are right though, not straying from principles is key, and if you do, be prepared to make amends.

Mar 16, 2009 07:19 AM
Missy Caulk
Missy Caulk TEAM - Ann Arbor, MI
Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate

Susan, as you know, I speak my mind. IMO somethings are more important to me than a buyer or seller. When I speak up it is something I feel I need to say.

Right now there just happens to be so much needed it is hard not to blah, blah, blah on every forum.

I love Butter-Pecan too !

Glad your busy, that's great news. Big or small we will work with all.

Mar 18, 2009 12:22 AM
Susan Walters
Keller Williams Realty, Ann Arbor, MI - Ann Arbor, MI

Thanks Missy, your words are very encouraging.  As I noted once in an earlier blog or perhaps a comment to someone else's blog, better to have your positions known than to have a buyer or seller find them out 6 or more months into a relationship.  At that point you've lost time, money, and perhaps credibility and reputation.  Wow, agreed, so much to talk about these days...for starters, AIG - three little letters and a world of controversy!

Mar 18, 2009 04:14 AM
Jason Sardi
Auto & Home & Life Insurance throughout North Carolina - Charlotte, NC
Your Agent for Life

Susan - I speak my mind relatively unabashed at times.  Then again, I have become a bit more diplomatic as I've grown older.  I understand where you are coming from on this, though holding back isn't on my list of fortes.

Mar 20, 2009 07:15 AM
Susan Walters
Keller Williams Realty, Ann Arbor, MI - Ann Arbor, MI

Jason, just like sneezing, it is probably better to let it out!

Mar 20, 2009 09:49 AM
Gary Woltal
Keller Williams Realty - Flower Mound, TX
Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth

Susan, speaking your mind perhaps in a Members Only post may be the format but that does not mean the public will not see that either, so it is best to be cautious if you are concerned about it affecting your business. I quite frankly am stunned with what some agents say politically in some public posts.

Jun 16, 2009 12:28 AM
Susan Walters
Keller Williams Realty, Ann Arbor, MI - Ann Arbor, MI

Agreed Gary - cut and paste, print and distribute - there are probably dozens of ways to spread the "members only" blogs outside the members' arena.  Caution is the new mode for me, at least in print!

Jun 16, 2009 04:00 PM
Jackie - computer-training-atlanta.com
770.498.7333 - Atlanta, GA
Learn to leverage technology to get more done.

Susan - I am also very impassioned about politics. In most cases, however, I keep my opinions about politics to my family, friends, and people who know me personally. In business communication (like AR) I find it easy to stay out of politics.

Jun 17, 2009 12:00 AM