GATEWAY PERSPECTIVES: Phones Can Still Be Used to Talk to People

Richard Haggerty | August 14, 2017

One of Dorothy Botsoe’s lead initiatives as HGAR President has been to reach out to the membership and have a direct dialogue with our members with the “Tea with the President” events this spring and “Pizza Parties” this summer and fall throughout Westchester, Putnam, Rockland, Orange, Manhattan and the Bronx. Dorothy has also reached out to our existing and prospective Affiliate members with our “Summer Socials” gatherings.

These events have proven to be very popular, and Dorothy has made it clear that she’s not asking for RPAC monies or Foundation contributions at these events, but rather wants to provide the members with an opportunity to network and enjoy themselves with no strings attached.

In some ways these types of events are throw backs to the types of events the Association used to have back in the 80s and 90s, before social media and smart phones started to replace actual face-to-face conversations. Don’t get me wrong. I’m as addicted to my iPhone as much as the next person, and I recognize that effective social media plays an important role in our communication efforts. I also will freely admit that I’m probably too reliant on e-mail and texting as my preferred forms of communication. However, I sometimes wonder at what cost.

Last week I visited Ginnel Real Estate in Bedford with Cathleen Stack, the HGAR Director of Marketing, and Gary Connolly, the Director of MLS. Dan Ginnel and some of his staff had a couple of issues they wanted to discuss and we ended up having a very productive meeting from my perspective, and I was able to grasp certain aspects of a thorny issue because we had a face-to-face discussion as opposed to trying to address an issue via e-mail. It made me start to think about how an over reliance on e-mail may truly have a negative impact on how we communicate. Sometimes even phone calls are not a substitute for sitting down and having a friendly conversation over a cup of coffee.

When I was in Bedford I also stopped by the office of Mark Boyland, a former MLS President, to catch up on things. I asked my standard questions—how’s the market and how’s business? Mark responded that the market was good and business was brisk, but he also offered the observation that he was concentrating on getting back to basics and making sure that he was reaching out to his sphere of influence on a more consistent basis—not via e-mail, not via social media, but via phone. Mark observed that it was his experience that the folks in his sphere like this form of interaction where he is not directly soliciting business but just checking in and maintaining engagement.

With the advent of so many new forms of technology based communications, we forget about the power of simple direct conversation.

Cathleen Stack has been visiting member offices for more than a year to talk about what’s going on with HGAR and HGMLS and to solicit member feedback. I’ve joined her for some of these office visits, as has our Government Affairs Director Phil Weiden and Gary Connolly. Please consider reaching out to Cathleen at and arrange to have us come to an office meeting to have a direct dialogue with the agents in your firm.

Sometimes there’s no substitute for a good, old-fashioned conversation.

Richard Haggerty