Monday, December 24, 2007

What Alvin and the Chipmunks taught me about Communication

On my seventh October birthday, I received one of my favorite presents; The Chipmunk’s Christmas album. I couldn’t wait to share it with my friends at school. I told all my school friends about it for nearly two months. My wonderful, understanding second grade teacher said I could bring it in the week before the holiday so I waited as patiently as a second grader can wait.

The day of the party, I walked into the classroom, carefully holding my prized vinyl disc with the smiling cartoon characters on the cover. And there was a substitute.
My beloved teacher was ill and wouldn’t be returning until after the holiday!

I was crushed as I loved my young teacher and wanted to share my favorite song with her. (Yes, it is Christmas Time is Here.) The substitute was a retired educator from a totally different era. In my youthful eyes, she looked ancient! She was very kind and said we would play the album after lunch.

The record was stored away until after lunch and recess. Finally, the moment to play my favorite song from The Chipmunks had finally arrived. I still remember standing over the record player as the teacher said, “That can’t be right…It sounds funny. We must have it on the wrong speed.” I tried to explain and show the 33 1/3 speed marker on the album as she adjusted the wonderfully, high childlike Chipmunk voices to an extremely slow speed adult voice just as Alvin shouted, “Okaaay Dave!” and broke into the painfully slow melody… “Christmas, Christmas Time is Here”.

I pointed out that “Dave” sounded wrong with such a slow voice and the Chipmunks were supposed to sound high and squeeky. They were Chipmunks after all! The retired substitute teacher never did understand. I was frustrated and started crying. My friends were bored. And the album was a flop at school as the substitute refused to play it at the correct speed.

Thinking back on that incident, I learned a lot about communicating. I learned that not everyone sees or hears things the same way. As a Realtor, communication skills are essential in working with buyers and sellers.

  • Where I may hear the freeway noise in the backyard of a property, a home buyer might appreciate the background sounds of the city so they don’t feel so isolated.

  • When I explain to a seller what needs to be done to put a home on the market, details must be provided. Clean, paint and declutter can mean different things to different people.

  • Background music in a home can be a wonderful staging touch but since a seller doesn’t know who will be coming into the home, soft instrumentals might be much safer than other music genre.

As Alvin, Simon and Theodore make their way into the hearts of a new generation, the communication lessons remain. Not everything sounds right to all people but it just maybe music to the ears of others.

Have a Very Merry Christmas!

If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional Realtor, give me a call or visit my website for a FREE Relocation Packet. I specialize in acreage and lakeshore properties in the north and east Twin Cities metro area including Ham Lake, Lino Lakes and all communities in the Forest Lake School District! Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.

Copyright 2007 Teri Eckholm