Whether your office actually has a water cooler or not, small talk with fellow agents is an occupational hazard when you’re working on a team (at least if you’re not all remote, but I digress).
If you’re busy (as REALTORS® tend to be), then you may feel like there’s no time for small talk, but enjoying the company of your teammates is an easy way to make your job more enjoyable.
Coming up with topics to foster conversation and break the ice with teammates may seem like just another item on your to-do list, but if you’re serious about getting to know those you work with, keep the following insights from real estate professionals in mind.
Being on a team means supporting one another, so why not share more tips, or tools, on how you’re getting ahead—whether it’s how you’ve been using social media platforms to find leads in your community or how you choose to host your open houses.
Christopher Audette, a REALTOR® and associate broker with The Group at RE/MAX First, says that asking advice is his go-to icebreaker. Here he shares his usual opening lines:
“Can I ask a favor? I’ve got a client/situation/opportunity…and I would love your opinion.”
“Hey, I know you do a fair bit of x, and I’m curious what you think of…?”
“How would you handle a situation like this?”
“How are you dealing with the current x?”
“The vast majority of people not only want to share, but it makes them feel good about their contribution, acknowledging that you both value their opinion and that they’re approachable and open,” says Audette. “As a bonus, you get some opinions on some topics that most people struggle through in a vacuum.”
Talk about your clients
Presumably, you’re both somewhere in the process of handling some real estate transactions, so compare notes: how the current transactions compare to ones you’ve previously managed, what your clients are like/how they’re unique, etc.
The risk is if your business is unequal (for example, you’ve got plenty of clients and your teammate is struggling to even get one), it can get the conversation off on a bad foot.
Even then, a quick fix is to offer some tips to your less lucky or experienced teammate.
An unwritten rule for conversation with acquaintances is “no politics or religion.” Even so, topical news stories are a good way to get the conversation moving since you’re both sure to have strong opinions. The real estate industry has plenty of those right now, from consistent market struggles to ongoing lawsuits targeting commission structures.
You might be thinking that you don’t want to focus even more on these lawsuits’ fraught ramifications for the industry, but talking through something can be an easy way to destress.
How to have the conversation?
Anam Hargey, team lead of @properties Christie’s International Real Estate’s Hargey Group in Illinois, describes her how she wields her ice-cracking tools:
“I like to always keep things light and not too serious, so I try to always break the ice with jokes. If there’s a conversation I’m nervous to have, I just stick with the facts and get straight to the point, but with a smile on my face.”