JohnHart’s 12 Skills for Exponential Growth in Real Estate – Skill #4: Writing Skills to Develop Critical Thinking and Beyond

There are myriad reasons you might want to tighten up your writing skills. Believe it or not, critical thinking development is among them. Even if you’re unfamiliar with the term “critical thinking”, you’re using it everyday. It starts with the collection of information and follows with in-depth analysis to help you form an opinion. And hopefully that opinion is an educated one! Clearly, critical thinking provides an edge when troubleshooting, problem solving, and generally surmounting challenges. 

Improving Writing Skills Sharpens Critical Thinking

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So, how does the development of writing skills improve your critical thinking? Consider how writing requires you to slow down your thinking process. Often this means compartmentalizing an idea or a point into easily digestible fragments. And as you’re writing down those fragments, you have plenty of opportunities to “kick the tires” so to speak. 

By the time your full idea is in print before your eyes, you’ve had the chance to consider it from several angles. And you can go back, re-read, and finetune those fragments to make an even more airtight idea. All of this offers the perfect training ground for developing your critical thinking skills. 

The Importance of Fundamentals in Honing Critical Thinking

Consider a professional basketball player and the hours and hours of practice they put in to be able to score those three-point shots. Their skill is often developed by practicing fundamentals. They shoot basket after basket after basket… not quite the thrill that attracted them to the game in the first place!

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 But by repeating these fundamentals, they’re training themselves to be able to react in a moment’s notice and throw that three-point shot while an entire team hits them with everything they’ve got. No small feat! And, no matter the raw talent, a skill like that doesn’t ever “just come naturally”. 

Likewise, writing provides an accessible way to develop your critical thinking through fundamentals. The more you write, the easier it gets to tune out the noise of a wandering mind and get right to the meat of an idea. 

Critical thinking requires more than simple memory and regurgitation. It requires that, even for a brief moment, you think for yourself. For a lot of people, that’s a frightening concept. But the more you wade into it, the more that free-thinking becomes second nature. 

Different Types of Writing Skills for Different Goals

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What you get out of writing depends on the type of writing you practice. We’re going to explore two types today: organized and freewriting. Organized writing skills are more ideal for developing critical thinking. However, freewriting has more therapeutic results. Both have their place in the schedule of a rising real estate agent… or any career really. 

As a practicing real estate agent building your business, you’ll most often use organized writing to regularly update your blog or write informative articles. You may also use a type of organized writing in your marketing materials, but marketing typically employs short form writing. And while short form writing still requires some sort of structure, it doesn’t typically demand the same type of planning as long form writing. 

Using an Outline to Improve Your Organized Writing Skills

One of the strongest tools of organization in writing is the outline. You may remember outlines from grade school. Basically, they provide a means of pre-structuring your blog or article so that you’re not just blindly winging it. A simple outline begins with an introduction, uses a series of points for the body, and wraps with a conclusion. Ultimately, your outline will likely look something like this:

You’ll have already collected the brunt of your research prior to drafting your outline. Therefore, it’s purely a step meant to streamline and structure your blog or article. 

The Introduction will help to establish an overview of your arcing theme. Then, your Points will introduce more specific information to support your arcing theme, preferably supported by examples. Finally, the Conclusion will summarize your points in a succinct manner. 

Ideally, as a real estate agent, you’d also want to end with a clear Call To Action. This is where you tell your audience “Come to my open house” or “Contact me for a free home valuation”. The Call To Action states whatever you ultimately want to inspire your audience to do. 

Don’t Just Say It. Explain It.

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When writing the body of your blog or article, it’s great to tap into your authority as a real estate expert. But you also need to understand your audience. Who do you want to read your writing? Once you’ve identified your audience, try reading your writing through their eyes. Are you using too many industry buzzwords without explaining their meaning? 

Always take the time to thoroughly explain your concepts. All the writing skills in the world won’t matter if you’re referencing terminology and ideas with which your audience is unfamiliar. You’re a real estate expert. Is your audience? Possibly. But probably not. 

Writing Persuasively

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Since negotiation is such an important part of your job, you’ve likely mastered the art of persuasion. You’ll need to tap into this regularly when developing your writing skills. Persuasive writing allows you to really map out your argument. Therefore, sticking to your strategic course is important. 

Ignore the temptation to digress into irrelevant or superfluous information. Your persuasive writing should stay focused on your side of the argument. 

A wealth of evidence lends power to your perspective. Facts, statistics, and original data make compelling points, so use them to reinforce your ideas. Just make sure that you fact check. Obviously, not everything you read is reliable. 

Active Voice vs. Passive Voice

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You’ll also want to write in the active voice. For one, it’s easier to read. Secondly, it’s more expressive of confidence. And confidence is integral when using the art of persuasion.

So what’s active voice versus passive voice? With active voice, the subject of a sentence conducts the action. By comparison, the subject of a sentence receives action with passive voice. Confused? Maybe these examples will clear things up.

Active Voice : The zebra jumps over the shrub.

Passive Voice: The shrub was jumped over by the zebra. 

Still not following? Don’t sweat it too much. People are naturally drawn to write in an active voice. 

Enrich Your Quality of Life with Freewriting

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Freewriting may not win you many arguments, but its therapeutic qualities make it just as integral. The most popular method of freewriting is journaling. The only rule is that there are no rules. 

You can write your stream of consciousness. Some people find a lot of power in keeping gratitude lists. And there’s always the ever popular diary. No matter which method you choose, you’ll find that consistent freewriting lifts a weight from your shoulders. 

Don’t Wait to Develop Your Writing Skills

By now, you must be sick of reading, so what better time to do a bit of writing? Start journaling today to get a feel for your style. From there, you can begin to incorporate more structure for blogs and publicly shared work. 

Just remember that both have their place… even in a busy agent’s schedule. Push yourself to journal at least three times a week, and blog at least once a week. As you get more comfortable, you can increase the frequency. 

Regular blogging will keep you strongly connected to your community. Additionally, freewriting will keep you strongly connected to yourself. When you make time for both, your career and your life in general will thrive. 

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After working with, and for, many different real estate firms, it became apparent to Harout that there was a major disconnect between what consumers needed/wanted and the service that was being provided to them. It was upon this realization that Harout founded and opened JohnHart Real Estate; and as the CEO/Principal Broker he has continued to break from the norm and redefine real estate with an insatiable appetite to give his clients the service and attention they deserve.

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