You can’t spell “community” without “communication.” Well, wait. Actually, I guess you can – but there are a lot of the same letters in both those words!
Regardless of our ability to ace a fifth-grade spelling bee (or come up with an engaging way to kick this blog article off, apparently), when it comes to building a tight-knit condo community, communication is key. Could your condo community’s communication use a bit of a revamp? Not sure where, why, when, or what to communicate in the first place? We’ve got some ideas for every comms situation you might run into, right here.
Five Tips to Make Your Communication Tops
1. Build Spaces for Communication – Physical and Digital
The first step toward strengthening communication within your condo community is to create consistent spaces for ongoing communication. Accessibility is key to consider here as well, which is why we suggest creating both a physical and digital destination for condo communications that community members will be able to regularly and easily check upon.
These communication spaces could take any number of shapes or sizes. Your physical communication outlet, for example, could include a lobby bulletin board for day-to-day announcements and missives, for example – or, it could take the form of a community-run newsletter that’s distributed throughout the complex. The digital side of things could consist of a message board set up through you condo’s HOA software, a Facebook Page, a joint condo corporation-condo community website – anything that people can access, contribute to, and connect with to converse and learn a bit more about what’s happening around the condo complex.
2. Keep Those Spaces Regularly Updated
Now that you’ve settled on some sound physical and digital methods of communication, the next step is to be consistent in updating them. A lobby bulletin board is a brilliant tool for any condo community to have access to – but when the most recent missive is a “Babysitter for Hire” flyer from 2018, chances are that not many people will take the time to check things out on the way to and from the building.
Just like your favorite website or Instagram account, frequent content updates are what will keep people coming back and checking up on these communication spaces – digital and physical alike. Even if there’s no big news to communicate, your condo board will want to keep these spaces fresh and updated on a consistent basis regardless in order to keep people tuned in, checking back, and contributing. Even if it’s just a “Happy Holidays!” message or a funny (non-offensive!) meme, do what you can to keep consistent content coming, and people will keep coming to check out your content.
3. Lean into Communication to Set Expectations and Avoid Conflict
Now that we’ve covered how to effectively create communication spaces within your condo, it’s worth detailing just what they can do for you and how beneficial they can be in various situations and circumstances – starting with expectation setting and conflict avoidance.
In a multi-resident living situation like a condo building, tempers are bound to flare between individuals at one point or another. Sometimes, folks are upset with the condo board and how they’re handling (or not handling) a situation. Sometimes, issues can boil over between individuals, often as a result of simple miscommunication. Regardless, this is something that the above-mentioned steps can help you to address, now that you’ve got some solid communication practices in place.
As a condo board, use these communication spaces to set expectations about projects, initiatives, and foreseen inconveniences around the building. If elevator access is being restricted one day due to maintenance, put that note up on the board and share it out! People will be much less annoyed when they know what’s going on in advance, as opposed to them finding out the elevator’s shut down when they’re sitting in the lobby with a brand new couch destined for their 15th-floor unit.
Likewise, nip interpersonal conflict in the bud by using these spaces to reiterate bylaws and best practices when it makes sense to do so. Reminding residents about permitted Christmas decorations as we head into the holiday season, for example, might be just what’s needed to stop one disgruntled resident from picking a bone with another over the thirty fully-lit blow-up figures they’ve decided to cram onto their balcony in the spirit of the season.
4. Placemaking Through Communication
In addition to pre-emptively defusing conflict, robust condo communication can help to spark community in addition to holding it together through events, initiatives, and placemaking endeavors, too. By creating a space for people to post about putting together a condo community garden, hosting a holiday event, or even just finding friends to play some weekly Dungeons and Dragons with, you’ll be well on your way toward building a tight-knit community that will be the envy of condo corporations everywhere.
5. You Can Spell Community Without Communication – But Why Would You?
When it comes to condo community-building, we often get asked if all this facilitation of communication is really necessary. Does a condo board need to invest in these efforts to bring people together? Won’t residents just naturally make this stuff happen through elevator conversations, random run-ins on Facebook, and the like?
Well, maybe – and maybe not. When it comes right down to it, sure, your condo complex might naturally pull together in a community-minded spirit. That said, it could just as easily not. Why take the risk? And why make things harder than they need to be for your residents? By putting in the small effort of creating spaces for condo community members to communicate, you’ll be setting everyone (including your condo corporation) up for success – and to us, that just seems like the right message to be delivered.
Looking for more ideas to help get your condo community talking? Communicate as much to us at Catalyst Condo Management today – we’re always happy to chat!