Saturday, May 23, 2009

Board Book Club: Schedule Time to Read

Michelle Flaherty reports: We Realtors are a distractible bunch. As much as we relish being in the driver’s seat of a well planned day, we are pretty quick to slam on the brakes and make a U-turn for a buyer who’s ready to sign. And that’s not meant as a criticism—it’s just how we’re wired, and in many ways it works. However, the unpredictable nature of our day-to-day lives can leave less urgent activities like reading (e-mails, text messages, and tweets don’t count) in the dust—a scary concept for anyone claiming true expertise in our ever-changing industry.

In a move to combat this epidemic of Realty Induced Attention Deficiency, the Greater Portland Board of Realtors recently introduced its first ever Realtor Book Club. Each month, we read one business book and meet for a one-hour discussion. The commitment to the club is light, but the requisite reading takes time.So far, the book club has introduced an element of accountability into the good intentions many of us have of getting some reading done this year, added depth to our continuing education efforts, and—Bonus!—brought some fun, like-minded people together for a lively chat once a month.

The books we have chosen all have ties to the Realtor community. The first, David Meerman Scott’s the New Rules of Marketing and PR was the topic of a presentation at this year’s NAR convention in Orlando. The second, Jennifer Allan’s Sell with Soul, gained much exposure on the popular online real estate community And our current selection, Leonard Berry and Kent Seltman’s Management Lessons from Mayo Clinic, was recommended to our local Association Executive at last year’s AE Institute.

As we move forward, we will be pulling selections from the Recommended Reading lists from CE and designation classes—those books you always mean to read—and may even pick up—but that get pushed until tomorrow as you wind down from a long day of lock-boxing and problem solving.

All in all, it has been an experiment in diligence, and it has paid off - not only in measures of education and pleasure, but also in the kind of confidence that can only come from education, and that our small group keeps bringing freshly each month to our clients in the field.

Michelle Flaherty (Prudential Northeast Properties, Westbrook) serves on the MAR Board of Directors

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