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7 Tips for Effective Reading

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					7 Tips for Effective Reading
I wonder if you remember the day when it was claimed that by 2000 we
would be in the world of the paperless office. The truth is managers and
leaders now have more than ever to read. As well as traditional stuff
like letters, meeting papers and circulars, we now have e-mail and a
whole host of on-line stuff. Given that time is always an issue, how can
managers and leaders become more effective readers?
Tip 1: Distinguish between total understanding and overall impression
In some cases it will be essential to have total understanding about the
topic in the material you have to read. For example, if you are in the
Finance team and there is a change around accounting regulations, a
detailed level of understanding will be important. On the other hand if
it is about production processes and you are in Finance, an overall
understanding might be all that is required.
Each time you have to read something, make sure you get clear on whether
you need total understanding or an overall impression.
Tip 2: Set a time limit
Most people can only read for short periods of time without a break,
usually about 45 minutes. Make a habit of setting a time limit for how
long you will allocate to each reading session to maximise your overall
effectiveness.
Tip 3: Ask yourself what you already know about the topic
Sometimes the topic that you are reading will be completely new. Most of
the time the topic will be at least familiar to you. Chances are you will
have read something similar or complimentary about the topic.
To help inform your reading, ask yourself what you already know about the
subject matter.
Tip 4: Read with a purpose
It is easy to fall into the trap of reading something just because it is
in front of you. The alternative is to ask yourself what the purpose or
goal is from reading the item. Is it:
• To gain information
• To inform a decision
• To get a different perspective
When you are clear on your outcome it is much easier to focus your
attention on what matters.
Tip 5: Skim through first
A useful technique is to skim through the document first, focusing on the
headings, sub-headings and conclusion to get a general feel about the
content of the document.
Tip 6: Read summaries first
Most reports or long publications have a one page summary. In printed
articles in professional magazines, a summary of the key themes is often
given in a small box. Start with these summaries first.
Tip 7: Make notes as you go
Capturing notes as you go is an extremely effective way of keeping focus.
Mind maps or checklists are particularly useful ways of capturing what
you might need to refer to in the future.
Reading can become a very time consuming task but by making a few simple
changes you can significantly improve your overall effectiveness.
Duncan Brodie helps managers and leaders to achieve their true potential.
Sign up today for his free monthly newsletter at
http://www.goalsandachievements.co.uk

				
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posted:10/17/2010
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