Boring Ass Articles: Why you should pay attention even when you don’t want to

magazinesI’m always reading something. You’ll often find me staring intently at my iPad, soaking up the latest book from my book list or using the latest apps to connect with recent news and industry articles. If you catch me with my iPad powered off, I’ll have my nose buried deep within a trade publication: magazines that are, at times, so bad they won’t charge the readers—just the advertisers.

Now, I’m not trying to incriminate myself as a reader of low-quality material. I’m not reading these publications because I can’t keep still, and I’m not telling you about it as a part of some twelve step program. Here’s the thing: regardless of how mundane something may seem to you, information, trends, and news that may only be discussed in a trade publication can really affect a client or potential client of yours. And—as you know—anything that affects your client affects you in one way or another.

What I’m reading…

There’s different levels of trade magazines in every industry. In healthcare, there’s Modern Healthcare, a publication that anyone in the industry should be keeping up with; Health Leaders Magazine, which, as the title states, deals more with directors and leaders within a hospital, and there’s Trustee Magazine, which deals with hospital directors as well. These are just to name a few magazines within one of the verticals that my firm caters to.

I just put down a copy of Modern Healthcare. I usually glaze through it—paying close attention to headlines first, then coming back to read the articles of special importance. These are the hidden gems that set me apart from others; these are the business and political issues that can affect my business and my client’s alike, and I have the opportunity to be one of the first to discuss that issue with him.

What I see…

As I flip through, I see an article discussing hospital margins. Then, one about hospitals booking up through deal making and acquiring. Another-How is Technology Affecting Quality? And now my processing begins. I didn’t just see a series of headlines. I identified business and political issues that can affect the way clients are thinking.

And this connects back to how we coach our clients. We want our clients to learn how to flip through what look like “boring ass articles” and connect dots. So as an example, one of our clients in the design and construction industry who is developing healthcare pursuits could browse through that same magazine I referred to and gather data points that can give a strong indication about the types of issues their clients are considering. And during their next meeting, some productive questions to ask would be something like, “How quickly will components of this building help you in your accountable care strategy? How quickly will it help you in Medicaid reimbursement? How quickly will it help you get more nimble with IT infrastructure?

When you show a well-informed interest in what they do, you’ve got them listening, and curious about you. That’s when you have the opportunity for a natural segue: “By the way, we’re great builders.” (And onto your impactful narrative).

Here’s the Bottom Line…

If you want to connect more effectively, you need to adopt a diplomatic mindset. Current articles can help you scoop up and aid you in this diplomatic mindset by giving insight into what’s on the mind of someone you’re looking to connect with.

Fight that boring ass impulse—you may think that you don’t really want to know about the ins and outs of every field you service. But the thing is, you’ve got to know.  You have to show them that you intellectually “get” the issues they are thinking about and dealing with. It sets you apart from the rest and increases your value.


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