My real estate profession’s key component is communication. Communication across borders, across industries, and beyond corporate hierarchies.

In retrospect, I learned a thing or two when it comes to communication, reading people, calibrating boardroom situations and handling some of the toughest and most irrational characters on the face of the earth, and not only in real estate and private equity.

Or in other words: When a CEO was responsible for the best company year ever, he displays a different communication pattern as opposed to when his company runs into foreclosure.

The goal of communication

The goal of communication as we typically understand it is to get your message across. Back and forth arguments. Persuasion or concordance at the end. The only motivation: getting feedback and appreciation for whatsoever proprietary idea at the core. Feeling better. Basic human need. Common sense.

Looking at the perceived reality of everyday communication we run into aggressive and submissive gestures, back and forth arguments, body language wars. Manipulative power games wasting time. I bet you saw it all at a certain point.

The dance of the neonates

Recently I came across the fascinating findings of William Condon which do turn upside down some of the beliefs many of us have when it comes to good communication behavior. His observations were stunning.

Back in 1974 Condon observed that human neonates moved in precise segments of movement that are synchronous with the articulated structure of their adult parents’ speech. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007%2F978-1-349-24483-6_42

Later on Condon filmed family members over dinner and split the recording into 1/45th of a second sequences. Each of the family members were in perfect mutual synchronicity with their gestures, eye movements and body language. In other words: when dad turns his head down, mum raised her hand. When one speaks up, the other’s voice turned down.

Condon labelled this as “interactional synchrony” of two initially conflicting conversation patterns. Rhythmic, not static micro-movements. No mirroring, but complimenting the movements of the counterparts.

Eyes, hands, face and shoulder movements and smiles literally danced to the spoken words. And all in perfect harmony. Even tone voice balanced each other out.

Think out of the box: learn from musicians

So there must be a way to synchronize your communication patterns in order to get your message wired to the person you want to reach. And when taking Condon’s findings into account, the holy grail may not be the Tony Robbins like mirroring of the other person in order to give them a good feel and to connect. A fluid interlock of different communication patterns would not take place.

What we are calling for is a more or less natural reflex which allows a gifted communicator, salesman or negotiator to align his own patterns with the outer world. In a blink of an eye.

The interesting part: learning from musicians who are used to affect dynamics and handle large audiences, could help experienced negotiators to further hone their craft. Being able to harmonize a communication flow and to signal a contagious attitude is basically the key to any success you want to achieve in life.

Easier said than done.

Watch and adapt

But one thing I would like you to try-out: Watch people. Observe them. Get a feel for action and reaction. Think mutual dance, not one-directional push.

Watch businessmen in high pressure situations, analyze corporate speakers under stress. Compare fighting and loving couples on the streets. Recognize family members having arguments in the adjacent car next to you while waiting at the red light. Go to court and watch public trials.

Have fun and learn to adapt and calibrate your communication one by one, one step at a time.