A great ad campaign of several years ago was based on the headline "Send Me A Man Who Reads." The campaign extolled the virtues of reading. As with the famous Wall Street Journal ads, the campaign suggested that reading, and particularly reading the right things, was a golden road to success and happiness. The campaign was sponsored by an internationally renowned paper company. They naturally wanted you to buy books, which were hopefully, and probably, made from their fine papers.
Today, when we want to add interesting and exciting people to our network we would certainly include someone who is an active reader.
Why Reading Is So Important
Reading is important because it broadens your horizons and exposes you to hitherto unknown places and people you did not know. Moreover, it keeps you abreast of daily happenings and occurrences and what is going on around in the world. Newspapers, books and magazines not only contain the expected news, information and enjoyment items but most of all they're chock-full of ideas - ideas you can use every day in your networking communications.
With a planned reading program, hardly a day will go by without something for you to learn about direct mail, public relations, speaking, organizations, speakers and the many other topics that are so vital to good networking. Additionally, reading printed news media will provide insights into people with whom you might want to purposely network.
What Should You Read?
A basic reading list should contain your hometown news papers along with a good national newspaper. The Wall Street Journal or the Sunday edition of the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, or the San Francisco Chronicle, depending upon which part of the country you live in are great reads.
Next on the list is a good weekly news magazine such as Time. Newsweek was a wonderful magazine, but sadly has downed its shutters and is now available only in the digital format. Then we suggest a business publication such as Business Week, Forbes or perhaps Fortune magazine. The publications for your trade, business or special interest should also be included. And, if you can squeeze them in, your local news paper, a local business publication and a local "big city" magazine are good sources of information.
Books, of course, are important to your networking knowledge. In addition to books specifically on networking, you'll want to keep up-to-date on other books related in some way to the networking process.
It hardly seems necessary to say "read your mail" but we mean all of your mail - including the advertising mail. Often your advertising mail will produce great ideas and concepts that can help you in your reading. Advertisements are crafted with great thought and precision because they have a thought to sell. In fact every advertisement is an attempt at networking, as it wants to bring in yet another buyer within its fold, s a careful perusal of the ad mail often pays rich dividends and provides valuable information, from a source that most are unaware of, but one that is a gold mine that will help greatly in the quest for networking.
Moreover, announcements of new books and other publications that might be of interest could very well be found in your mailbox.
If you say, "Oh, this all sounds great, but I don't have time to do all of this reading," it's time to look for help. If you are fortunate enough to have a secretary ask him or her to scan at least some of your reading for items that might be of interest to you. After all, your secretary should know what would be of interest or importance to you. Next ask business people working with or for you to note items in publications that might be of interest. Lastly encourage those in your network to keep an eye out for news about those things about which you're particularly concerned.
What Do You Do With What You Find?
Networking from reading requires some tools. You may want to carry a highlighter pen to mark things of interest, along with a small pair of scissors or a clipping tool to cut from magazines or papers. Or you may just want to tear out pages for future filing.
A filing system, however minimal, is a must. Good net-workers always have a file of helpful information. Many people catalog their ideas on 3" X 5" cards. With the newest software for lap- and desktop computers, you can find a program that will provide for note taking and an easy-to-retrieve information system.
Your Library Card
Somebody once said, "Your library card is your passport to success," and we believe it might be. Probably too few people take full advantage of the great facilities available at most libraries. For networking, the library is an invaluable reference source, particularly for names and addresses of people you might want to contact. And remember, most libraries can be accessed by phone for reference information you might need.
Reading is a way to cultivate your mind as well as your network. To be a good networker - and to be someone others want to network with - be a person who reads.
A major benefit of reading is that the more you read, the more well-informed you become. With more facts and information at your disposal you feel confident enough to tackle and approach things with confidence and resilience. People will look to you for answers and more people means more people within your network chain. Reading about the multiplicity of existence and exposing yourself to new thoughts and opening new knowledge vistas in your mind helps to develop the ingenious side of the brain as it absorbs originality into your thinking process, and provides you with the wherewithal to approach your networking goals.
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