Speed up your reading

You can read four times faster than average. How? By mastering speed reading techniques.

Speed reading allows you to increase your pace of reading, without reducing your comprehension. When you speed read, you stop reading every word on the page. Instead, you switch to scanning documents for key points.

Read first and last paragraphs only

Train yourself to skim through paragraphs by reading the first and last sentences only. When you find a paragraph that is relevant to your writing, slow down so you can absorb it. For example, skimming reading you that the paragraph below contains little useful information on SMART goals. You can safely skip over it.

Goal setting is the foundation of successful appraisal systems. All appraisal systems should use SMART goals as a basis of great work results. Appraisals go much more smoothly when people have clear goals. Staff feel more confident about their work. Managers can give better feedback. That’s why you need to know how to set robust performance objectives.

The following paragraph, however, contains much more useful material. Scanning its first and last sentences, you notice that this paragraph provides two practical tips. This tells you to slow down and make notes on what those tips are.

There are two key points to remember when writing SMART goals. Firstly, SMART goals are specific, measurable, agreed, realistic and time driven. They describe the end results that someone is going to achieve. Secondly it helps to use verbs when writing goals. Verbs are action words. They describe things your staff can do to contribute to the business. Using verbs in your goals ensures that they are action focussed. Combining the SMART attributes with action words makes your goals easier to achieve.

Bail out early

If a document isn’t relevant to your research, stop reading it. There is no point spending time on material you’re not going to use. A document is probably irrelevant if it includes: lots of filler words; vague or ambiguous words, little concrete information or long rambling sentences.

Only read once

When you read back over material you’ve already seen, you’re wasting time. Break this habit by setting a ‘once only’ rule. If you spot useful information, copy it directly into your article. Don’t save the article to re-read later. You can save hours of research time by adopt this habit.

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