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Mark Your Calendars … RE Bar Camp Bismarck

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I Don’t Get It

Does anyone else remember the seen from Big where Tom Hanks is in a development meeting at the toy company, listens to an entire presentation with a quizzical look on his face and then says simply, “I don’t get it?” If you do, then you can understand my current feeling with the wave of RE BarCamps building across the country. Bismarck’s not on the official list but it can’t be far off …

There’s a fundamental flaw in the RE BarCamp setup … not BarCamps in general, but the real estate version: the purpose of a BarCamp is to have an “unconference” conference where there’s no set agenda and all of the discussions develop organically. Except without an agenda in place, it’s difficult if not impossible to decide who the intended audience for these events might be.

Are they designed for more seasoned tech-savvy real estate agents? If so, there need to be discussions at a somewhat higher level than for those who are paying Active Rain to blog because they haven’t figured out that WordPress is free.

Are they designed for these newbies? If so, how do you get the more experienced agents to participate and help these others grow? (Maybe I’m the only one but I’m soooo DONE with blank stares from agents who never will adopt any advice I provide. But hey, it’s not like I’m closing a couple of deals a month strictly through the Internet so what do I know …) I realize I’m not supposed to ask what’s in it for me, but what’s in it for me – especially if I have to travel either across state lines or into a different area code to attend?

Lending a Helping Hand

I’m not against attempting to help the newbies but at some point these people needs to take the initiative and do something with what they’re told. Because if they aren’t then they’re wasting both their time and mine. And unlike Mr. Hand, I can’t show up at their house on prom night to reclaim the minutes of my time that were wasted in a futile attempt to enlighten.

And so I’m back to square one … am I the intended audience for these events or not? If I’m not, then why keep urging me to tell everyone about the event through my Facebook account? Why not spend the time trying to get those who aren’t online to attend … actually I know that answer. Because they probably won’t.

When NAR decides they’re going to announce who was hired as Social Media Manager at a BarCamp, does the event even belong to the agents anymore? (If you’ve read a similar sentiment recently it’s because I’m in agreement. I’m now going to go take a Silkwood shower.)

Everyone seems excited to have one of these and I’m not sure they’re even sure why in some cases, except to say “hey, we had a BarCamp.” You don’t need a BarCamp. You need a curveball … I mean closings … right, Meat?

Hey Bartender

To be honest, regardless of whether I’m who is being targeted, call me when the drinking starts. Because what I’ve found is I learn more with a drink in my hand at these events (and also at my former brokerage’s happy hours) than I ever learned in the designed sessions (or training classes).

Jonathan Dalton is a Realtor with RE/MAX Desert Showcase in Peoria, Arizona and is the author of the All Phoenix Real Estate blog as well as a half-dozen neighborhood sites. His partner, Tobey, is a somewhat rotund beagle who sleeps 21 hours a day.

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14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Ken Brand

    February 24, 2009 at 7:42 pm

    Nice.

    Sly and thin sliced sarcasm? You can tune a piano, but you can’t tuna fish. Horses to water….. “Mr. Hand and Meat”? Prom? Silkwood shower…

    Yahtzee for you.

    What’cha drink’n sir?

  2. Ben Martin, Va Assn of Realtors

    February 24, 2009 at 7:53 pm

    I don’t disagree with anything you’ve written, but I’ll answer “No” to your question: when NAR shows up, does it really belong to the agents? They just want to participate.

    By their very nature, BarCamps defy definition, and a phrase I’ve heard repeated with respect to BarCamps is “Whoever shows up is supposed to be here, and whatever happens here is supposed to happen.” That kind of environment can be unsettling, especially if your Myers-Briggs ends in a J.

    I’d say, no, you’re not the audience, in the sense that you’re not going to learn a whole lot at a BarCamp. You might get one or two new tricks. But you ARE the audience in the sense that you have a lot to offer to others, as you’ve noted. And I guarantee you’ll find that “whoever shows up” at BarCamp won’t glare back with an empty stare.

  3. Linsey Planeta

    February 24, 2009 at 9:47 pm

    I’ve never been to one and I’m looking forward to the one in LA. I’ve had some of the same confusion about the audience for the event. But hell, I’m happy to get together for that drink too. It’s about the connections and, like you said, that always seems most meaningful during cocktail hour following.

  4. elodie

    February 24, 2009 at 11:11 pm

    I’ve been to an open presentation where the topics selected by the vocal members of the audience were much too advanced for the rest of us. We all wanted to participate, but were too ill-equipped.

    In my experience, the disadvantage of an unconference setting is that the bullies control the event.

  5. Dale Chumbley

    February 25, 2009 at 12:17 am

    Coming from one of the people helping put on one of these events, I can say I’ve thought these same things. Who is the audience? Who will attend? Who will share? I believe (after experiencing it in NYC) it will all happen organically.

    My hope is we will have some who travel from out of area (hopefully prepared to share their knowledge since most of them are fairly well versed in the SM world). Hopefully we get some of the locals who “dabble” in the SM world (because frankly, most of them stink at it) and I hope we get a good turnout of people who want to learn about this world that those of us here use & flourish in on a daily basis. We’ll be hitting the streets and going to office meetings personally inviting them since most of these people will never see an invite on facebook.

    Thanks for continuing to challenge the thinking and helping us to refine why we do what we do.

  6. Chris Griffith

    February 25, 2009 at 6:16 am

    I am now counting on the “what is gmail?” question at every panel I sit on. Maybe I should make it a game and start bets with the other panelists. 🙂

  7. Andy Kaufman

    February 25, 2009 at 6:17 pm

    You’re right JD, you might not be the intended audience and if you determine that you’re not, it’s no big deal, we’ll still love you anyway.

    The BarCamp model borrows from Open Space principles in that, the intended audience is whoever comes & whatever happens is the only thing that could have.

    You could teach/lead a session on something that you’re an expert in and build some social capital with the next generation of knowledge hungry professionals.

    Don’t feel like doing that? Why not organize an advanced session so that you can talk and share secrets with your peers at a level that 95% of the attendees won’t ever understand and truly geek out IRL.

    If you don’t want to do that, why not hang out, pop in and out of sessions or talk to people in the hall all day? Who knows what you might happen.

    I’ve done them all and can say I’ve benefited from doing all three.

    You’ll get the most out of RE BarCamp if follow the law of two feet: If you are neither learning nor contributing, use your two feet. Go to some other place where you may learn and contribute.

    Finally, the movement has never ‘belonged’ to agents. Its for whoever is interested in real estate and wants to gather and share in an open environment. You’re the intended audience for RE BarCamp if you want to be.

  8. John Wake

    February 26, 2009 at 2:31 am

    Hey Jonathan, I can save you some money.

    Skip the BarCamps and let’s go straight to the bar.

    I’ll buy the first round. Can your car make it as far east as Desert Ridge? (I know Scottsdale’s out.) Hell, I suppose I could go to Arrowhead Ranch if you buy the first round… and maybe some appetizers.

  9. Matthew Rathbun

    February 28, 2009 at 10:22 am

    There are times when we’re against so many things, I often wonder what we’re for….

  10. Jonathan Dalton

    February 28, 2009 at 2:42 pm

    I’m easy, Matthew …

    I’m for skinning cats, paying my mortgage and anything that will allow me to do both with some dollars to spare.

    Increasingly, I’m finding it’s my own hard work and not the search for miracle cures that’s allowing me to do that.

  11. Matthew Rathbun

    February 28, 2009 at 2:55 pm

    I really did mean “us”… I am more guilty than most at warring against things.

    In this case, I think that any learning and sharing opportunity is good. The REBARCamp is a catalyst to the social part of social media. There will be plenty of bar time 😉

    But, I get your broader point in that we shouldn’t depend on any one single source to be magic beans.

  12. Kim Wood

    March 4, 2009 at 9:25 pm

    Hi Jonathan!
    Although some I’ve recently attended are not set up like the Bangin’ REBCSFO in 2008 – the premise is…. learn, share, contribute… if you aren’t happy with the session(s) you’ve attended – go start another one ! I have learned something at each of the 3.5 BarCamps I’ve attended. Yes – lots of learning happens ‘after hours’ as well !
    With plans underway for REBCPHL – we are also focused like Dale said, on thinking, “Who?” “Why?” and “How do we target market to them?”
    It’s all about sharing – most may not carry out the information shared – but hopefully some will.
    Of course…. like most things….. Bar Camps aren’t for everyone, but give it a fair shot – each one will be different. Guaranteed.

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Business Marketing

The neuroscience of respectful leadership – preventing professional disrespect

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Offices with toxic work environments are harmful to the employees, but where does that toxicity come from? A large percentage is disrespect

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disrespect in the workplace

If you have ever felt yourself being disrespected at work, or at least not getting the respect you feel you deserve, you are not alone. These actions can create a toxic work environment that don’t help anyone, but why does it happen and how can it be curbed? Well Gregg Ward has studied the subject and has an interesting take that we would like to share.

Gregg Ward is the Executive Director of the Center for Respectful Leadership, and the CEO of Gregg Ward Group. Gregg has been helping leaders develop their respectful leadership, emotional intelligence, and executive presence skills for over 25 years; working with Fortune 100 and 500 organizations around the world to inspire respect and leadership, emphasizing the measurable, bottom-line benefits they bring to leaders and their organizations. Gregg is the author of the best-selling, award-winning business book The Respectful Leader, as well as the Human Resources and Management handbook Bad Behavior, People Problems, and Sticky Situations.

By Gregg Ward – Executive Director of The Center for Respectful Leadership

Starting in the late 1990’s and for the next 20 years, researchers at Georgetown University and Arizona State University surveyed American employees to determine the amount of incivility, disrespect and rudeness they were experiencing at work. Shockingly, 98% of those surveyed said they had experienced it, and 99% said they had witnessed it. What’s even more troubling is the lasting impact of disrespect on individuals and organizational cultures.

Most of us assume that respect and disrespect are things we think about rationally. Rational thought occurs in the cognitive areas of our brains, within what scientists refer to as “the neocortex.” But recent findings in neuroscience indicate that our responses to rudeness, incivility and disrespect are much more emotional than rational, and are rooted in the primitive parts of the brain, called the “reptilian brain.”

Imagine you’re in a meeting and your boss continuously interrupts you (a not uncommon experience for many), dismissing your ideas as unworkable. Even though you “think” you shouldn’t be bothered by this behavior, you actually experience it anyway on a basic emotional level, regardless of what you tell yourself. This is because your brain perceives these interruptions and dismissals as threats, and almost instantly sends a threat alert to your Amygdala (the center of the Limbic system) which in turn triggers the release of stress hormones into your system including Adrenaline and Cortisol (aka “the stress hormone”).

These hormones are part of the fight-flight-freeze response that all of us experience to some degree when we’re under threat. Researchers have found that increased levels of these hormones resulting from constant exposure in the workplace to even small micro-threats (like being constantly interrupted) can have significantly negative impacts on our health, well-being, productivity and even our ability to think creatively.

Research also shows that respect and disrespect are contagious. You’ll know this to be true if you’ve ever walked into a meeting after it’s started and immediately felt a sense of energetic enthusiasm or chilly iciness between the participants. You can sense that something’s up even though they haven’t said anything to you about what’s actually going on. This awareness is driven by our unconscious brains constantly seeking information to determine if we’re under threat, or not. This is simply the human condition and has nothing to do with us being too sensitive or politically correct. It is simply how we are.

Organizational leaders ignore our fundamental humanity at their peril. A “toxic” work culture, wherein many are experiencing disrespect, rudeness and incivility on a regular basis, can seriously impact performance, productivity and partnership.

In 2016 researchers published a scholarly paper that clearly highlights the negative impacts that disrespect and incivility can have on entire organizations including increased complaints, absenteeism, turnover, mistakes and bottom line performance metrics. If you’ve ever worked (or currently work) in such a toxic culture, you know how uncomfortable this is, and how much of a detriment it can be to your well being.

What can leaders do to ensure their organizational cultures are respectful and civil? First, leaders can set the tone themselves by consistently treating people with decency and respect. Practicing what is often referred to as “common courtesy” is a great way to start, by saying “please” and “thank you,” regularly; greeting people cordially; using “reflective or active” listening, and never raising a voice in anger or upset.

Another effective “respectful leadership” practice is to quickly “nip disrespect in the bud” whenever it arises; demonstrating to the rest of the team that being disrespectful won’t be allowed. At The Center for Respectful Leadership, we refer to these and other related practices as the “RespectfulDo’s,” and they are part of the global movement we call Embrace Respect.

Recent neuroscience is teaching us valuable lessons about our working selves – especially in regard to the power of respect and civility. The question is, will we listen to the research and deliberately act upon it, or stay unconscious and risk the fallout from a toxic culture?

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How to make sure your newly remote team stays productive

(BUSINESS MARKETING) The tide of change is rolling in and may never recede again, so managers should know how to handle the new normal, here’s some advice.

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managers new role

The Coronavirus pandemic has changed the way people work. Working from home is the new normal. It’s not only employees who have to think about how they perform, but managers have to learn new skills to keep their team engaged and efficient. I’ve worked on remote teams for over 6 years. Here are some things that have helped me.

Ask “What can I do to help you?”

I’ve worked with some great managers and some awful ones. The best ones had a collaborative attitude when discussing problems. Instead of laying blame, the question was “what can we do to correct this?” It takes a little longer to think in those terms if you’re not used to it, but it reduces stress. If you’re communicating through email or message apps, it pays to reread before hitting send. We’re all learning new skills in this new normal.

Make sure your employees have the technology they need

One of the companies I work for has specific programs they use and technology requirements. Before I was allowed to proceed through their final onboarding, they made sure that I could access their technology. If your team is working from home, they need to have the resources to be productive. It’s not just computers and software, but access to internet. One of my friends said that it took them over an hour to upload a 5-minute video to Facebook.

Define success; don’t micro-manage

As I’m writing this, Ask a Manager’s Alison Green posted a question about “what’s reasonable to expect from parents who are working from home. Just a reminder that managers may have to lower expectations from their team, not only for parents, but for everyone. I don’t have kids at home, but there are many distractions out of the ordinary. Managers have to accept that people aren’t going to be as productive in these not-so-normal-times. Identify priorities. Check in when you’re on a deadline. Find a balance between managing and micro-managing.

We’re all just trying to do the best we can

It doesn’t matter who you are or where you work, I think it’s safe to say that we’re all adapting to these crazy times. How managers handle their teams will set the tone for years to come. If you want to keep those employees who have been hard workers, you’re going to have to adjust to give them the benefit of the doubt.

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Business Marketing

Easy email signature builder quickly updates your info

(BUSINESS MARKETING) When’s the last time you updated your email signature? That long? You might want to look at just sign, a new, quick, and easy, email signature generator.

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just sign email

The last thing any of us are thinking about right now is email. While we’re all staying safer at home, though, it’s a good time to think about all the little things that need our attention, but typically get neglected: clearing out the email inbox, unsubscribing from things no longer relevant, and updating our email signatures. Why the email signature?

Oftentimes, we change emails when we change jobs and forget to change our signatures to reflect our new address. The same is true with social media; if we happen to change jobs, due to our own choice or by necessity thanks to the virus, we may need to update our social media profiles accordingly, especially if the new job suddenly makes this a requirement.

One of the fastest ways to update your email signature is with a generator. An email signature generator can help you quickly make a professional looking signature in about half the time it would take you to manually add each individual component.

Just Sign is one of the quickest options I’ve seen. This email signature generator is ultra simple, ultra easy, and ultra effective. It allows you to add clickable social links, a profile picture or logo, and all relevant contact information. It also allows you to choose a color scheme and tailor the formatting a bit to your preferences. As you begin to add options to your signature, you can see a preview of what the final product will look like in the right-hand panel.

Just Sign welcome

This allows you to make any necessary changes before downloading the finished product. When you have your signature perfected, simply click the purple “generate signature” button and you’re ready to go.

Just Sign is an easy, quick way to check another thing off your to-do list while we’re all at home. If you have already updated your signature, you might save this link for later use as it’s a good idea to revisit your signature a few times a year. Oftentimes, I revise mine simply to keep the attached picture updated. Have you updated your signature lately? Do you plan to? Let us know what you think of Just Sign.

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