How much reading do you do?
Do you read about your industry?
Do you read about your profession?
Do you read the news?
Do you read novels?
Do you read detailed documents?
There are some professions where reading is a critical component of the role … and the most successful practitioners of those professions read a lot, comprehend what they read and typically they can also write well.
There are lots of other professions where reading would be a tremendous asset, but many people avoid reading as much as possible, and they can get away with it … to a point.
Here are my thoughts:
1. If you want to understand the latest thinking on your profession and/or industry then you need to read regularly.
2. If you want to be able to communicate effectively at an executive level then you need to read regularly, and develop your writing skills.
3. If you aspire to senior management roles then poor reading and writing skills will undermine your ability to be successful.
4. People with good communication skills might outshine people who have better technical skills, because they are better able to articulate themselves. A good salesperson with great communication skills might win the promotion over a great salesperson with poor communication skills … and probably rightly so. Management positions NEED good reading and writing skills.
5. If you want to be able to hold a conversation with senior people then you had better be reasonably current on what is going on in the world. The latest baseball scores is not always going to cut it!
6. We live in an age of “shortcuts” … instant message instead of email, shortened forms of words, internet information rather than reading the newspaper. If you have great comm skills you will differentiate from the masses.
I worry that ultimately good communication will be come a lost skill … and then I suppose it won’t matter if you read. But won’t you worry about the aircraft engineer who reads the manual about how to fix the plane; or the civil engineer reading specs about building a bridge; or the tax auditor who is reading about how to apply the tax rules or maybe the judge who is reading about the law!
Society has evolved to its current state, partly because of sophistication in innovation and partly on an evolution of communication. We need to be able to communicate well to continue to grow and evolve … and in order to ensure your success you need to read.
Just my opinion … so build a habit, read something every day!