Have you ever stopped to think about how much you’re reading? I’m referring to reading in general, short-form or long-form. I was at a networking event this morning. Yes, I am networking in the midst of COVID-19. We all had on our masks, social distancing, etc. It was very interesting. In a number of the conversations I was a part of, people said they know their industries well.

Yesterday, I was talking on the phone with the head of a speaker’s bureau. He asked me what book I’m currently reading. I shared with him. Then I turned around and asked him if he asks a lot of people that same question. He said he does but is amazed at the number of people who don’t have an answer.

Wow, that struck me. I have always prided myself on reading and particularly, long-form reading. I am not talking about short-form reading which is Internet articles, social media posts, articles you read on websites, etc. Long-form is like the old magazine, newspaper or actual book. I’ve caught myself the last couple months throughout COVID-19 not doing enough long-form reading. I admit that I have not been committed to it. Beside my desk, there must be a stack of probably 15 to 20 books that I’ve told people I’m going to read. They are all books sent from author friends of mine who want me to write a review for them. Well, I’ll never write a review on a book I’ve never read, so I need to read the book – each and every one of the them.

I definitely have a lot of reading to do. It struck me recently that I am not spending enough time doing long-form reading. I pride myself on long-form reading, rather than short-term because that’s what helps. It helps me to have deeper conversation with people. Short-form reading just gives me a broad cross-section. This morning, for example, at the networking event, I was able to ask people relevant questions to their specific industries. That was really cool. I was good, but it wasn’t like I was a master in the industry. It challenged me on something that I remember reading years ago. It said that if you spend 30 minutes a day reading on your industry for 30 days, you’ll become an expert. Actually, you begin spending 30 minutes a day for six months or two years. If that’s the case, then screw it! All of us would say we don’t have that kind of time. I say 30 days because very few people are even doing that.

Starting this weekend, I am challenging myself to get back into long-form reading by spending 30 minutes a day minimum reading long-form. That doesn’t include short-form, because that kind of reading is different and needs to be separate. I am only talking about long-form reading, where you read books and really dig in and try to understand and learn. I think that’s how we really begin to bring more value to the people we come in contact with and connect with them. It enables us to have more conversations.

Last night, I was on a phone call with two members of a board that I am on. They are physicians on the board, actually. The two of them started to have a little side discussion in the middle of our conversation. Thankfully, I was able to jump in on it because hey, I’ve had a chance to do enough reading. I knew what they were talking about. Knowledge opens up a tremendous amount of doors.

Now, I’ll close with something about Warren Buffet. You know, he just turned 90. I live in Omaha where he lives with his sidekick of 97 years of age. A few years ago, they were being interviewed and asked the question: what are you reading? The books they called out were unbelievable. It was like, wait, hold it. These guys are in their 90s, 80s. They don’t need to be reading, but they said they’ve just never learned enough. Wow. Man, do we need to be learning more? We can do so by reading more.

 Will you join me in the challenge to read more? Let’s get after it! I am going to commit to reading more not to become arrogant or cocky, but to be a person of interest who can have a conversation and not control. Instead of controlling the conversation, I want to engage with people and have them share with me. That way, when I leave the conversation, I’ve learned something and gained even just one small nugget of knowledge. The information I read turns into a conversation that allows me to learn even more.

Copyright 2020, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter” Sales Motivation Blog.  Mark Hunter is the author of A Mind for Sales and High-Profit Prospecting: Powerful Strategies to Find the Best Leads and Drive Breakthrough Sales Results.


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