Richard Haggerty | June 16, 2017

We are taught at an early age by our parents and teachers to always say please and thank you. Alas, sometimes as we grow older we forget the common courtesies in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, but we should not forget to show our appreciation to the HGAR members who give up so much of their time and energy to help lead and energize the association.

Three years ago our communications consultant, Tracy Weir, led a series of focus groups involving approximately 50 HGAR members, and the comments and feedback solicited during those focus groups led to the creation of a new mission and vision strategy for the association, as well as forming the foundation of the completely revised association website, To all the members who participated in those focus groups, a belated Thank you! Your voices truly made a difference.

A month ago we conducted another series of focus groups with our consultants—David Severance and John Foligno—who are helping to facilitate our current strategic planning process. John and David were tasked with delving into the different methods of communication our members utilize and what preferences they have concerning how the association communicates with the membership.

What we learned from these focus groups was that our members utilize many different forms of communication and believe that the association should continue to communicate in multiple ways in order to reach all of our constituencies. For the most part the focus groups gave the association high marks for the communication content from HGAR. Another key finding is that we need to ensure that we are structuring our communications and programs to ensure that we engage all of our geographic areas. A possible solution to this would be to allow members to create their own template for what type of communications and content they wish to receive. Another interesting revelation was that several focus group participants want communications to be a two-way street, with some form of suggestion box being available to provide feedback. We are still digesting the findings from these latest rounds of focus groups, but I can tell you the information we received is very valuable.

The challenge we have as an association is that we do not want our message to get lost in the barrage of communications that we are all confronted with every day from so many different sources. How many of us suffer from e-mail exhaustion and either let e-mails go unread or hit the delete key? The National Association of Realtors recently conducted a Tech Edge program at our office in White Plains to a packed house. One of the speakers, Mathew Shadbolt, the director of real estate products for the New York Times, observed that we are suffering from “an assault upon attention” with so many different communication styles constantly vying for our notice.

So, we’ve learned that there are no easy answers or simple solutions when it comes to communications, but in this day and age of fast paced technology growth, we really can’t expect that. What you can expect is that HGAR will do everything we can possibly do to meet our member’s needs, and if that means utilizing multiple communication vehicles to deliver relevant and important content to help our members succeed, we will do so. You can also expect that we will continue to ask for your opinions and request your feedback so that we can better meet our members’ needs. Trust me, your collective voices truly make a difference.

Richard Haggerty