Three staff members recently attended the monthly Marin Sonoma NARPM Chapter Meeting entitled “Communicate or Crash”, in Petaluma. We had two fabulous guest speakers, Carolyn Rosenblatt and Dr. Mikol Davis. Carolyn, a Registered Nurse and an Attorney, has 40 years of combined experience in her two professions. She has worked in mediation and conflict resolution, and specializes in real estate conflicts. Dr. Davis is a family conflict specialist and often supports Carolyn in understanding the underlying issues to many conflicts. The pair presented interesting ways to solve conflicts and how to prevent conflicts with owners, tenants, and vendors, as well as some interesting facts about mediation.

–80-85% of conflicts are resolved with mediation, before they go to litigation or further legal actions

–Mediation services are confidential & always voluntary. There are even community groups that offer free mediation services in Marin and Sonoma counties.

–Oftentimes people use minimization is a defense mechanism.

Carolyn and Mikol explained that this often leads to more problems because the person with an issue feels that they are not being listened to and not being heard and acknowledged. Carolyn said instead of telling someone that their problem is not really a big issue, that one should first acknowledge the problem and work to a mutual solution before it escalates into a conflict.

–Carolyn offered tangible ways to help communicate with our clientele better. Instead of using minimization tactics, one should say. “I realize/sense/understand that you are upset,” and then follow up saying, “What can I do to help resolve this problem (or what can I do to help communicate this problem to someone who can help us resolve this issue).”

–Disputes happen because people are not acting as good listeners; instead they are listening to their internal dialogues (their internal problems, tasks, distractions, etc.). To really listen you need to stop and understand what the person is saying with no interruptions or interjections in their dialogue. Then you must think about what they say before responding. This will help both parties understand the issue.

–Interrupting each others conversations is a way that blocks good communication, so if this happens you must slow down, take a deep breath, and say to the other person, “Why don’t I let you speak first without interruptions, and then I will speak and you can listen to what I am trying to say?” This will help each person regain focus and present their side, while alleviating stress and anxiety from the conversation.

–An important aspect to mediation is that both parties suggest a remedy to their issues; a mediator cannot suggest an alternative remedy. This has to come from the parties involved to be the best solution for all involved.

For more information about PRANDI Property Management, Inc., CRMC or the National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM), please visit their prospective websites at: and