How many books have you read this year? Too many to count? Or too few to even bother adding them up? With International Literacy Day in the rearview mirror and National Book Week having just finished, it’s time to think about reading more. And not just because books are both entertaining and enlightening, but because, as marketers, books can give you insight into so many things that will simply make you better at your job. Don’t believe me? Fair enough… here are three reasons you should consider picking that reading habit back up.
Reading will better your communication skills
It’s not that reading widens your vocabulary, although that is certainly an advantage. It’s that reading teaches you how to speak to different people on their level. And that doesn’t mean talking down to people. What that means is that you’re able to communicate better with people coming at an issue from a view that differs from your own. The dialogue in literature with help you understand how best to say things according to that specific situation. You’ll see where characters get it wrong and where characters get it right. You’ll also be able to identify ambiguity and exclude it from your conversations.
This is incredibly important when communicating with clients. Everyone in the industry has experienced an email thread gone wrong. You said one thing and your client took it to mean something completely different. And you know how badly something like that could end.
Reading exposes you to different points of view
Your perspective is shaped from where you’re from, how you grew up and the obstacles you’ve faced in your life. And the same goes for other people. Therefore you won’t always be able to see things from their point of view. Reading will help you identify with people from different backgrounds. You’ll learn how to change your mindset so you can relate to people who see things from a different perspective.
Reading will also help you approach problems from a different angle. You’ll have a fuller view of the world and how it works. That means that when you’re looking at a problem, you won’t just see things as they are. You’ll be able to imagine different scenarios and therefore attack a problem in a way that you may not have otherwise have thought of.
It’ll also help you when dealing with difficult clients. You’ll be able to take a step back and think about what you see from your perspective and then what they see from their perspective. It’s easier to solve issues with troublesome clients when you can see the problem at hand through their eyes. You may find that they’re not being as difficult as you originally thought they were.
Reading inspires new ideas
You never know when a good idea is going to hit or where it’s going to come from. But if you broaden your horizons, you’re more likely to hit a well of inspiration. And the more you read, the more places you’ll go and the more people you’ll meet. It’s that simple. You can live many lifetimes simply by reading a few books. Even if you’re reading what literary snobs refer to as “trash”, you’ll learn a thing or two and experience something you haven’t experienced before. And the more experiences you’ve had, the more ideas you’ll be able to come up with and develop into something tangible.
If you’re in the creative sector of marketing, then you know how important it is to be able to come up with ideas on a daily basis. You’ve more than likely experienced that fear and anxiety when you receive a brief and you’ve got to find an idea AND execute it by deadline. Where do you even start? Well, you start by reading regularly.
Reading regularly is something that most successful business people do. And marketing is one of the biggest parts of business. You need to be able to communicate effectively, see things from every perspective and create new and exciting ideas. You can bring this all to life by adding to your reading list.
*This article originally appeared on Media Update.