Mind the Gap: Brian


Maggie is a text-happy 24-year-old REALTOR® who finds herself in a serious negotiation as a seller’s agent with 52-year-old Thomas, the buyer’s REALTOR®. As they come to the final counter offer, Maggie is out with friends when Thomas begins to call multiple times.

Maggie sends a text to Thomas’ phone stating, “What’s up?!” Thomas is enraged by what he sees as a curt response and continues to call her. By the time she’s finished with her friend time, she sees 24 missed calls on her phone from Thomas. As Maggie dials Thomas’ number she is enraged while Thomas is still reeling from the “what’s up” text message. What happens on the conversation next, one can only imagine.

You are in the role of a 45-year-old broker who oversees both these REALTORS and both are furiously expecting you to resolve this personal conflict. How do you proceed?

Did you Mind the Gap correctly? See what Brian Copeland, NARLA 2012 Graduate, has to say:


As the broker to both of these individuals, I sit in a place that could easily sway toward Maggie. As a Gen Xer, I understand how technology works and how it can be used efficiently.

Maggie is the closest thing we have in the workforce to a Digital Native, someone who was born with technology and can’t remember a time without today’s hottest trends.

While Maggie doesn’t seem to see the big deal about firing off a text, it’s the job of every REALTOR® to embrace and understand all forms of communications. She may be a text addict, but part of my job as her broker is to have her understand why short blasts may not be the best situation for all communications.

What if this had happened with a Boomer or Silent who was not in our office? Maggie must understand that shooting off a short text like this is the same as walking up to an acquaintance at a party and being short and abrupt. The art of “small talk” is valuable in relationships.

Thomas needs to control his redial reflex. As the broker, it’s important that I understand what background Thomas has that sends him into upset mode when he receives text messages of this nature. It could be he has a son or daughter who has been reprimanded for communicating this way, and he sees Maggie as someone who doesn’t understand his norm.

Certainly, the best thing to do is to speak with each of them separately about his or her point of view and why it escalated as it did. Without judging either one for their reaction, I have to listen (without generational bias) to how the communication made each person feel.

Once they have fully vented their frustrations, this is a great time to enter communications teaching mode and help lessen the communications gap. After they calm down, we will sit down together for a conversation on what everyone learned from the situation.