This fall is my first semester teaching college. I’m an adjunct at New York University where I’m teaching The Business of Media. The class design focuses on training young people to join media companies. The grade is comprised of three components class participation, blogging, and a final paper or presentation to a group of media professionals.
These skills, reading, writing, and presenting are vital to your ability to succeed in the workplace. And everybody from programmers to accountants needs them — even the ability to speak in front of large groups. Don’t believe me? Guess who presented Google Wave at their launch? The product managers who built it. The smartest thing my son’s kindergarten teacher did was hold a weekly recital where kids stood up in front of all the parents and performed some skill (count to 10, sing the alphabet, play chopsticks) to huge applause. 5 years later all of those kids relish public speaking.
The media world has been changing since I joined it in the early 90s. The pace of innovation has never slowed. In fact, it has probably accelerated. There has been “upheaval, revolution, rebirth, and reinvention” since long before the 20 years that I’ve been in the industry.
And if you don’t read consistently, widely and thoughtfully you will not be able to contribute as much to your organization. As children’s advertising taught me years ago, Reading is Fundamenal.
Blogging forces you to write about what you read. Through this process you articulate your ideas into structured thoughts. These thoughts may or may not contribute to the organization, but I genuinely believe that the process of steady reading and writing is a discipline that will serve you, your colleagues, and your career for years to come.