If you are a specialist, such as a lawyer, banker or doctor, you probably have a huge amount of information you urgently need to read and respond to. Your responses are fundamental. Clients, customers and patients all count on your advice based on the information you have processed.
With the demands of specialised and technical language, an ever increasing amount of information being shared in online documents, as well as the familiar bulging email inbox we can often wish we had some means of doing everything faster whilst maintaining or even enhancing, the effectiveness. Consequently, many of us hit the ‘slow reading’ barrier even harder when we are working through in a second language.
Luckily, discomfort is a great motivator for change.
So, how do we improve the speed we read without sacrificing detail and comprehension ?
Here are three revolutionary strategies which you can apply instantly:
Speed: Use a tracer
Use a book mark, pen or ruler to help you trace the words across the page. Your eyes will move at the speed of the tracer instead of the voice in your head, so you can simply choose a faster pace to read. Your eyes won’t read all the words and nor should they, as your brain will fill them, and any key information, in.
Find some calming music and play it at a low volume. This reduces the volume of the inner voice in our heads (known as subvocalisation). When we concentrate fully on a task at hand, and our inner analyst is calm, we can reach a state of "flow" or extreme concentration. Our brains are highly engaged and focused on the task before us and the process is usually extremely enjoyable.
3. Comprehension and vocabulary: Clear and consistent goals.
It is often not essential to understand every single word. Interrupting reading to find out what each new word means can sabotage concentration. So set a target. Read a page. Read 2 pages. At the end of each, summarise it in two to three words to check your understanding. If there are phrases you need to check, do it and make notes. Reflecting on the information you are reading in this way will enhance your understanding and improve your ability to recall it at a later date.
These strategies can help both at work and at home. Why not set yourself a personal goal? For example, to read a book in a month, or simply read for 10 minuntes per day, and implement these strategies to test them out. They are not only new and exciting, but they are also very simple and hugely rewarding.