What It Really Takes To Be An Effective Reader

I teach people how to become more effective readers all the time.

The strategies are really quite simple and you can divide an effective reading course (or speed reading course if you prefer that description) into three phases:

Phase I This gets rid of the bad habits we are taught in school that have been slowing us down for years this alone will dramatically increase your reading speed

Phase II This is where you learn about sharpening up your reading skills with strategies that can help you take in and comprehend far more words and lines than you ever thought possible call this Advanced Reading if you like

Phase III Here you discover filtering strategies to get through much more information at a much higher level before you dip into it with conventional “reading”

I always think the most important part of a speed reading course is this last phase because even if I did not share how to increase reading speed, just being able to filter information to target exactly what it is you really need to read would make a huge difference.

And then I started thinking about all of the effective readers I have had the privilege to speak to over the years I have been fine tuning my skills and the information in the courses I teach.

Pretty much all of these people I had spoken to had one thing in common that set them apart from those struggling with information overwhelm.

As well as being effective readers, they were also effective people.

And what do I mean by “effective people”?

Well each of them were very clear in what it was they wanted from all aspects of their life.

They thought strategically and had a long term view of where they were going both personally and professionally.

The had the personal discipline to focus on one thing at a time until it got done.

They also gathered what they needed, when they needed it and not before.

And probably most of all they were action oriented and extremely decisive.

I found that those personal traits ran through them at every level and surfaced in everything they did.

And this included the way they read and handled information.

I am sure none of them set out to be an effective reader I mean there are better things to do in life if we are going to be honest with each other.

However by being effective people, whatever they did was done effectively and this included reading.

  • Their CLARITY on what they were trying to achieve helped them decide very quickly whether they needed to read something or not
  • Their STRATEGIC perspective meant they could quickly get an overview of something to assess its relevance and identify which bits (if any) they did need to read
  • Their DISCIPLINE meant that they were not distracted by material that did not serve their purpose
  • Their JUST IN TIME approach to information prevented them from hoarding stuff that might be useful at some point in the future and allowed them to FOCUS on exactly what they needed when they needed it.
  • Their ACTION ORIENTATION  allowed them to take action on what they had read and turn simple information into powerful KNOWLEDGE by its application.

So if you feel overwhelmed by information, drowning in a sea of stuff then before you rush out and buy the “speed reading course pill”, take a good look at your own personal effectiveness because I would suggest a solution to your problem is much closer to home

Let me know how you feel about this with your comments below.