#PEOPLE & PRACTICES

How reading helps in improving your communication skills

Thomas Friedman wrote a book called “The World is Flat: A Brief History of the 21st Century”, which came out in 2005. Apparently, its title was inspired by Nandan Nilekani’s quote – “The world has got flattened”.

The ancient Greeks who proposed the earth is round must be scratching their heads in their graves! It had taken them a lot of effort to prove that the world was not flat! 🙂

importance of reading

One evidence of a flatter world today is the rise of geographically distributed teams. This isn’t something new, distributed teams have been around since ages and have given us a lot of Open Source software. Imagine not having Linux, Firefox, Apache, VLC, … ad infinitum.

Distributed teams have also aided the software outsourcing industry to prosper.

However, today even companies who do not outsource their work have their team members distributed across the globe.

So, what do you think is the number one skill required to work in a distributed team?

Effective communication.

Effective communication requires us to have a good hold on the various modes of communication – Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking.

And I believe if we read more, we can improve our writing, listening and even speaking.

I’m sure all of us do a lot of work-related reading. However, I find that reading books not directly related to our work is also required.

Apart from just vocabulary and grammar, reading books on various topics improves one’s general knowledge, imagination, and creativity among other things. And these benefits can also help bridge gaps in distributed teams, between team members from different countries.

Getting into the habit of reading is not easy; given how we are always catching up with our fast-paced and hectic lives.

However, I believe that like any habit, the habit of reading books can be picked up with just a little bit of effort. By the way, to understand more about habits, please read – The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg.

As per Charles Duhigg, more than 80% of what we do in a day is driven by habit, which means that most of the times we are on auto-pilot, except when we are exerting ourselves mentally or physically in order to pick up a new habit.

Really, an interesting book, I highly recommended it!

Enough meandering, let’s see how we can read more.

How to start reading more?

One of the ways to build a habit of reading books is to set aside some time in your day. It could be anything as per your convenience – 20 mins, 30 mins, or 1 hour.

I recommend scheduling it in your calendar so that it’s harder to skip it.

Remember, you need to make reading a daily habit.

What kind of books should I read?

Find a book on a topic that interests you. It could be fiction or nonfiction. I would recommend reading both. There are many writing genres, pick any.

What if I find the book boring?

Google says there are an estimated 145 million books in the world today. So if you are not enjoying a book, even after reading forty – fifty pages, leave it and move to another book.

And if you’re enjoying it, stick with it to the end.

Blogs vs Books?

Blogs are great, some blogs are just awesome. However, usually, blogs are about a specific topic, whereas books usually contain various related topics.

Blogs are typically written by one person, whereas a book usually has a team behind it. Apart from the author, there are reviewers, editors, people who want to make sure that the book should be good enough to sell so that it can make money.

In case you are not convinced by my blog, here are a few books on the importance of reading 🙂 –

What to Read and Why – Francine Prose

How to Read and Why – Harold Bloom

How to find good books?

  1. Hunt for bestselling books under various topics on Amazon or GoodReads
  2. Ask friends, family, and colleagues
  3. Drop an email to me, maybe I’ll be able to recommend some books for you 🙂

And that’s it. You’ll only need one book to change your life. Just one book, trust me. And once you have found that book which makes you go WOW, there will be nothing to stop you from reading everyday. I really hope you find joy in reading.

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