A Message from the President with Mike Theo: Communicate

 February 05, 2014

Experts and experience tell us that storytelling is the most effective means of communication. Storytelling is a personal means for sharing and interpreting experiences, and because humans think in narrative structures, listeners become engaged in storytelling and often remember facts conveyed through stories. 

And storytelling is why REALTORS® are such effective messengers in helping lawmakers make the right choices on legislation that impacts homeowners and real estate, and why every REALTOR® should embrace opportunities to communicate regularly with their elected officials. 

Last month I wrote about the REALTOR® tradition of engagement — engaging each other in business; engaging in our legislative, legal and political efforts; engaging in ethical and professional development. In each of these activities, a small investment of time, money and effort from each member makes a huge difference in our business and in the lives of homeowners and property owners everywhere.

One of the most significant opportunities in 2014 for every REALTOR® to effectively engage their legislators and help make a real difference for our industry is to attend REALTOR® & Government Day in Madison on Wednesday, February 26 — and tell a story.

REALTOR® & Government Day brings members from every corner of the state to Madison to meet with lawmakers to discuss key real estate-related issues pending before the state legislature. Each year, hundreds of REALTORS® participate in the event, learning from WRA staff about the pending issues, listening to keynote speeches from top state political leaders, and — most importantly — meeting in the capitol with their legislators and staff to tell stories.
What stories? The stories of how pending legislation will impact the real lives of REALTORS®, homeowners and property owners back home in the districts that the lawmakers represent. 

You see, the WRA fields an impressive lobbying team, made up of legal, political and legislative experts, who work hard every day to advocate for the passage of good laws and the defeat of bad laws, from a real estate perspective. The lobbying team advocates by providing lawmakers with background memos, written and in-person testimony at public hearings and through one-on-one meetings with legislators and staff, all to explain our take on bills that impact our industry as well as property owners. They are experts in the process of morphing ideas into statutory bill language, navigating the byzantine legislative process, and appreciating political needs and wants. In short, the WRA lobbying team knows how a bill becomes a law. But what is missing is the personal story from REALTOR®-constituents about the true effects of those pending laws on the folks back home. Translating legal words into real-life impact is a story that REALTORS® need to tell and lawmakers need to hear. 

The impact of REALTOR® & Government Day on the lawmaking process has always been swift and effective. In the days and meetings that follow, I can tell you firsthand that lawmakers appreciate the effort their REALTORS® made to travel to Madison, but more importantly, they appreciate the stories of how new laws will impact real people.

Attending REALTOR® & Government Day is easy and fun — but wildly meaningful. I hope every REALTOR® will make the trip, tell a story, and make a difference.

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