Poetry for Professionals

To be or not to be. That’s the question for small business owners. They’re turning to poetry to sharpen their business acumen. And it’s working. Reading poetry and other literature can help to develop critical thinking skills. That can lead to better problem solving. Take a look at how poetry can help to develop the skills needed to run a successful small business.

The connection between poetry and business isn’t new. Nobel Prize poet, T. S. Eliot, worked for ten years at Lloyd’s Bank of London. Ted Kooser was a vice-president of a Midwest insurance company before serving two terms as Poet Laureate to the Library of Congress. The two disciplines are not mutually exclusive.

Need more convincing?

Here are ways in which exposure to poetry and other types of literature can transfer to the business world.

  • Renders simplicity from chaos – Poets often take complex subjects and translate them into something more understandable. For example, Ralph Waldo Emerson’s poem, “A Nation’s Strength,” identifies the essential element of a nation’s success. He analyzes the many parts of the issue and singles out the differentiator. That way of thinking could be applied to business problems too.
  • Develops the customer viewpoint – Poems help us to better understand what someone else is thinking. William Butler Yeat’s “A Prayer for My Daughter” describes a father’s hopes for his daughter. If you market to new parents, poems like this can help you develop empathy for your target market. That helps you provide better service or inspires you to create a new product offering.
  • Uncovers options – Poems can help you look at everyday things in a new way. For example, Shel Silverstein’s humorous poem, “Point of View," will make you think differently about holiday meals. The skill to view things from a different perspective helps you see options. That can help you uncover solutions to problems that you might not have otherwise considered.
  • Provides marketing tools – Poetry provides practical techniques too. For example, best selling author and speaker, Guy Kawasaki, takes the skill of rhyming and applies it to marketing. He says that customers tend to believe statements that rhyme over ones that do not. Looking to get attention from customers? Consider including a well-placed rhyme in your customer messaging.

The distance between poetry and small business isn’t as far as you might think. Over time, reading poetry can help you develop skills and techniques that you can apply in your business.

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