Good Morning!! As I promised yesterday, today I am going to discuss Key Factors to Effective Business Reading.
The most important factor in efficient reading is comprehension. Reading is not simply a process of examining words, but one of extracting information and meaning from them.
Francis Bacon once said, “Reading maketh a full man. . . .” Comprehension is the ability to understand what you read. It depends upon your ability to concentrate while reading and to grasp and retain ideas. There are three things that you, as the reader, can do to gain full meaning of the written word. First, determine the writer’s basic theme or purpose in preparing the document, whatever its length. Second, determine the writer’s point of view and examine his supporting evidence. Third, evaluate the written word on the basis of your understanding of it, and decide whether to accept or reject the basic thesis of the writer.
Another important factor in efficient reading is the rate at which you progress through the written word. You must be able to read rapidly – to get the message quickly because time is a valuable commodity. In a survey of chief executives some 83 percent said they did not have time to keep up with the reading in their fields. This is shocking when one realizes that keeping aware of developments in a chosen field is of paramount importance for managerial survival today.
A factor also worthy of note is adaptability. From time to time you should check to be sure you are adapting your comprehension and reading rate to (a) the nature of the material you are reading, i.e., “light” or “heavy,” matter, and (b) your reading objectives.
Finally, the efficient reader is discriminating. He chooses carefully what he reads. He decides in advance what might be gained from reading the material. Then he determines the most efficient manner to gain that knowledge. If the material must be understood thoroughly, he reads with attention to detail. If the material must be read to gain some general information, he reads rapidly. This saves time and still provides the information needed.
How fast do you read? How fast can you read?
There is considerable controversy over the pace at which people can read efficiently. Some say that, 900 words per minute is the limit imposed by physiological barriers; others claim that this reading rate can be exceeded when the material is non-technical in nature.
Numerous courses are devoted to improving the rate at which we read. They are known as either speed-reading or rapid-reading courses. These courses often rely heavily on mechanical devices that force the reader to concentrate, and read more and more rapidly.
The experts who developed the speed-reading courses believe the average reader just plods along. Therefore, most of us have potential to improve our reading rate. If you’re going to try to improve your rate, a reasonable goal would be to increase it threefold. To do so, you must first examine your present reading habits.
A great deal of effort and concentrated practice is required to increase your reading rate. It is up to you to dedicate yourself to the task. Initial improvement may come about quite readily. Experts in the field have found the average college graduate can improve his reading rate by simply trying harder. It is interesting to note that this increased rate can take place without any loss of comprehension.
Tomorrow we will discuss about the various steps you can take to increase your reading rate.