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A discussion with a senior executive on his work day and how he managed time revealed something I suspected. He was spending an inordinately high proportion of time reading! At work, during the commute, at home: things were the same. He read and read but there always seemed to be more to be read.

Jobs in upper management or indeed any management job these days involves dealing with huge amounts of information. If you can’t get to the root of the issue you could quite easily be swamped by the information overload you are subjected to. Mails that don’t concern you, brochures of products you wouldn’t buy, reports that lose their relevance by the time you wade through them etc.

Reading techniques can help you tackle the mass of information flung at you. Here are a few common drawbacks that slows our reading speed:

  1. Vocalizing: Habitual vocalizers cannot help reading out aloud. The tone of their reading out aloud may vary depending upon the situation, but read aloud they must.
  2. Regression: Going back to something you have already read, either for better understanding or simply to make sure you have read it right. Slows you down and is simply a waste of time.
  3. Limited Fixation: Reading one word at a time instead of seeing many words or sentences in one eye span. Learn to read with your eyes rather than your lips. Take in larger sections of text at a glance.
  4. Visual Wandering: Skipping text if we lose interest. Looking ahead for the interesting/important part without understanding the base facts.

Average readers read at speeds of about 200 words per minutes with 60 % comprehension. A very small minority – just about 1% of readers read at speeds above 1000 words per minute with 85 % comprehension.

Check out the on-line reading test that Readingsoft has to get your reading speed and comprehension. I found this useful. I am sure you will, too.

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This is the 71 st of the “A Step A Day “series : To provide perspective and provoke thought to facilitate self-development across a wide spectrum of issues- big and small- crucial for executive success.

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