FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH
|“The Daily News”||
|By: Ron Brounes||
A few years ago, I underwent a transformation that I can tie back to the exact moment of its occurrence. I opened up my morning newspaper, only to find that the sports section had been mistakenly left out. Initially I panicked, not knowing how I was going to proceed with my day. I considered my sports page and five cups of morning coffee to be among the most important parts of my daily schedule. I seriously contemplated “borrowing” a neighbor’s paper or buying one from those guys on the street corner. Finally, to calm myself down (I drank a sixth cup that morning), I decided to glance at other sections of the paper. After all, I had already invested the 50 cents. I scanned the front page, learning about current affairs throughout the nation and the world. I read the business news, analyzing the state of the economy to determine its effect on my massive “hypothetical” stock portfolio. I even perused the section related to city/state issues entitled “Metro.” Prior to that morning, I had no idea that “Metro” even existed.
By the end of that (in) famous morning, I realized that significant events were actually taking place throughout the world besides The Super Bowl and the NCAA Final Four. I discovered that there were people in the world equally as important as Hakeem Olajuwon and John Mackovic. Suddenly in the days that followed, I would find myself watching those Sunday morning news programs as opposed to only ESPN. While this was initially hard to admit, I actually found some of this new information quite interesting and important. However, I also discovered that I had fewer friends to talk to about my new interests. (Not to insinuate that my friends are not well read, but…..)
KNOWLEDGE BREEDS SUCCESS
At times, there do not seem to be enough hours in the day to handle our responsibilities of work and family. Newspapers get thrown away, magazines go unread, the nightly news gets pre-empted for “Seinfeld” (OK, I’m guilty here). Unfortunately, as a society, we have become far less knowledgeable about the world around us, and only focus on those issues that most affect our daily lives. While we may not always realize it at the time, the events that transpire in D.C. and Hong Kong and elsewhere in the world oftentimes have great influence on our businesses and families. Tax ramifications within the budget agreement impact our personal finances. Trade issues determine the prices we pay on consumer goods. Domestic labor disputes hinder our abilities to transact business with our customers. Even the most basic understanding of these current affairs can be instrumental to our future successes.
Similarly, this working knowledge can indirectly benefit us in other ways. Everyday we meet and interact with new individuals in both business and social settings. As we have discussed in past “For What It’s Worth” issues (check your files), the impressions we create from these initial meetings help set our images and “perceptions” for all future interactions. A “well read” individual comes across as far more impressive in any networking situation. In certain scenarios, knowing the final score of the Mariners/White Sox game is not nearly as important as an understanding of the Apple/Microsoft business deal.
Now don’t get me wrong: I am not advocating spending hours upon hours reading eight different newspapers cover to cover (five should be sufficient). I do believe that a quick glance through the headlines can go a long way in helping keep abreast of the times. I also believe that a good source of information within the paper is the “opinion/editorial” (op/ed.) section. Concisely written, these few pages (within “Metro” in Houston) detail individual views and opinions on the most pressing issues. Op/eds. are typically composed by columnists, business execs, politicians, educators, and even your next door neighbor. This section often includes shorter opinion pieces written in the form of “letters to the editor” in which every “know-it-all” in town has the ability to express an opinion on a timely topic. While you may not always agree with the content, reading the op/ed. pages can be a fast and easy way to follow the daily news. Who knows? You may even make a submission or two on a passionate subject.
From a business/political standpoint, the op/ed. section offers opportunities to express viewpoints and share professional experiences with the reader. These pages are often utilized by business people and politicians alike to promote their opinions on a variety of important issues. Many a vote was won by a candidate who took a stand on a particular topic in the form of an opinion piece. Many a business deal was sealed as a result of an executive explaining its merits through an editorial submission. A well-written, well-timed, well-placed piece in the op/ed. section can produce numerous public relations benefits for its author.
With all this newfound information, I still save plenty of time for some good old-fashioned sports. Should the newspaper ever forget to include my sports page again, I would undoubtedly have a similar reaction as before. The greatest aspect of sports is that it transcends all barriers and personal differences: race, religious, economic status, etc. Nothing unites a community like a championship franchise, as individuals from all walks of life share a common success in the form of a hug, a high five, a turned over car. Sports knowledge can also create many networking opportunities, especially as a complement to general current affairs. Now, did anyone see a Mariners/White Sox final?
FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH is a publication of Brounes & Associates focusing on business marketing and general communications strategies. Please call Ron Brounes at 713-432-1910 for additional information. As always, insults above should not be taken seriously. Brounes & Associates does not promote vandalism following sporting events.