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Read and digest

DID you know that the average adult reads at the ability level of a 12-year-old? To succeed as a manager you need to be better than the average. More importantly, it means that there are some skills required for effective reading that some managers do not possess. How do we balance the need to gain full meaning of what we are reading with the need to limit the time we actually spend reading? To state the obvious, reading is an important skill for managers to have. You need to be able to read quickly and to get to the heart of the matter without having to wade through reams and reams of text. Skimming and scanning are ways to do this that will enable you to focus on the content without having to read every word. In no particular order, try these to help you read for a quick understanding of content. Remove any external distractions before you start to read. Read through the contents page before tackling the article, document or book - this will give you an overview of what it contains. Identify topics that relate to things you need to know about at that moment. Read any summary that may exist before reading anything else, e.g. the executive summary - this will provide you with a context for the rest of the text. Read the first and last chapter of the document / book. Read the first and last paragraph of every chapter. Read the first sentence of every paragraph. Look at the chapter headings or document title and brainstorm in your mind what you know about this topic before you start reading. Identify key words which are relevant and current to the information you want. Then read from the top and bottom of a page and locate these words. Use a high-lighter to help you locate clusters of key words - if there are a lot in one area then read all the surrounding text. Locate words with which you are unfamiliar - jargon, acronyms or unknown. Then find out the meanings of these words before starting the overall task. Read the sentence before the one containing the words, the sentence containing the words and the sentence after the one containing the words. Use the index to locate key topics or text about which you may wish to find information. Read any glossary of terms that may exist. Make notes about key points for later reference. Mark (underline or circle) the important text so you can refer to it quickly at a later date. Discuss with other people, who have read the same text, their interpretations, understandings, impressions, thoughts, evaluations and opinions of what the content was about. Re-read the text where it has not made sense to you. From the best-selling You Lead, They’ll Follow. How to inspire, lead and manage people. Really. Volumes 1, 2 and 3 (McGraw Hill) sold worldwide. “..an absolute treasure” HR Magazine. Listed 6 times in Management Today’s National Top 10 Best-selling Books, on-line www.bobsbooks.com.au. Daniel Kehoe (Fellow, Institute of Management Consultants) is the creator and developer of the brand new, innovative and highly acclaimed Super-Thinker ® Business Improvement Tools – see them at www.superthinker.com

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