Speed Reading For Success

by Joe Love - Date: 2006-12-03 - Word Count: 1022 Share This!

We are living in the Information Age where knowledge and action are the keys to success. Business people today are faced with a monumental volume of reading: memos, reports, journals, articles, briefings, and newsletters. The list is interminable.

Unfortunately many business people just don't have time to read all the valuable information that is out there and critical to their success. Imagine how much more successful the average business person could be if he or she had time to read more of this valuable information and have time to act on it.

There are various techniques that you can use to enable you to read faster and improve your comprehension. By implementing these ideas into your daily routine, you'll gain valuable time and knowledge.

Learning to read more rapidly involves more than training your eyes to move more quickly across the page or reading more words simultaneously, although many organizations tout those methods as effective ways to improve reading speed. While some people have found those systems to work, most experts cite the lack of evidence that they improve reading comprehension.

Speed-reading involves a series of techniques aimed at adapting your reading style to the material you are trying to understand. When reading, most of us try to read every word. Often, we read aloud inside our heads, mentally pronouncing each word as we proceed.

When we read this way, it actually slows down our pace and interferes with our comprehension. It may seem counterintuitive, but in order to improve your comprehension, you don't have to read every word as you go. If you know basic rules of logic and grammar, you can improve your comprehension abilities by actually reading less of an article.

An important first step in improving your reading comprehension is to establish exactly how much you know about the topic. This will indicate which technique or combination of techniques you should use. For example, a difficult topic that is very important for you comprehend will require your full attention. In this case you'll have to use a combination of techniques in order to get the most out of it.

Previewing is a great technique that you can use to increase your familiarity with an article. For many simple articles, previewing will provide you with all the information you need to know. It also provides an overview of those areas where more in-depth reading is necessary.

Generally, articles are structured in a similar, logical manner. Subheadings introduce sections of the material. Each section is separated into paragraphs, which begin with topic sentences that introduce the subject matter. What follows are a few key sentences elaborating on the point and, finally, a closing sentence, which summarizes the paragraph.

To begin, always read the subheadings of the individual sections. This will provide you with an overview. Then read the beginning and ending sentences of the paragraph. These sentences indicate what each paragraph is about and what the author has concluded. By reading only the subheadings and the beginning and ending sentences you will get a good general understanding of the subject matter.

Previewing by itself will not reveal all that you need to learn from an article. You'll have to do more in-depth reading. Writers often use the middle sentences of a paragraph to elaborate on the ideas that they presented in the introductory sentence. So, to pick up on these ideas, you must scan for certain cue words.

Words such as first and second often indicate that the writer is extrapolating on an idea. Therefore or moreover indicate a conclusion. Writers often use these words and others like them to introduce facts that may not be apparent if you just use the previewing technique alone. By looking for these words, you can improve your understanding of the material.

One of the myths of speed-reading is that you should read a word only once. The theory is that rereading words cuts down on your speed. This is true, but how fast you read is immaterial if you don't understand what you are reading. Always ask yourself if you do. If not, go back. Remember, speed-reading is an adaptive process and its purpose is not only to increase speed but also to improve comprehension, thereby ensuring that you are not wasting your time.

When your reading is long such as with books or transcripts where the text can't be broken down into subheadings and subtopics you have to read ideas and not words. The premise behind this technique is that not all words in a paragraph are important. What is important is the idea that they convey. For example, words such as the and his are irrelevant to the basic concepts.

When you read ideas and not words your comprehension of the topic is the same as it would be if you read the entire paragraph. In fact, your comprehension actually increases because instead of sounding out the words, you are concentrating on understanding the underlying concept.

When you're looking for a particular piece of information, such as the sales figures in a report you have to scan for specifics. Focus on the information you want to find. Let your eyes run across the page, almost blurring the words and ignore all the information other than what you are looking for.

Contrary to many of the advertisements and myths, speed reading will not allow you to read an entire book or novel in two hours, nor will it allow you to appreciate the pose style of the author. You'll understand ideas, but you won't necessarily feel the passion of the words. When you are reading for pleasure, do just that; Sit back and enjoy.

When you're reading for business and time is of the essence, speed reading is invaluable. It will help you improve your reading comprehension and maximize the time you spend reading books, journals, and reports.

So, now that you've invested all this energy in reading this article word for word, put the techniques you have learned to good use. Begin with previewing. Find some of the magazine or Internet articles you have been meaning to read but haven't found the time to do so, and practice!

Copyright©2006 by Joe Love and JLM & Associates, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.

Related Tags: success, business success, achievement, organizing, personal success, time-management, goal-setting

Joe Love draws on his 25 years of experience helping both individuals and companies build their businesses, increase profits, and achieve total success. He is the founder and CEO of JLM & Associates, a consulting and training organization, specializing in personal and business development. Through his seminars and lectures, Joe Love addresses thousands of men and women each year, including the executives and staffs of many businesses around the world, on the subjects of leadership, achievement, goals, strategic business planning, and marketing. Joe is the author of three books, Starting Your Own Business, Finding Your Purpose In Life, and The Guerrilla Marketing Workbook.

Reach Joe at: joe@jlmandassociates.com

Read more articles and newsletters at: http://www.jlmandassociates.com

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