What is reading effectively, and how does it improve managerial skills?
As a manager, you've probably found that you are constantly reading: memos, documents, emails, proposals, and manuals are just a few of the many things that cross your desk in any given week.
With the sheer amount of reading that takes place, it can be difficult to stay on top of other tasks if it seems the bulk of your time is spent reading and comprehending so many things. Reading effectively can help your overall managerial skills in a number of ways.
What is reading effectively?
Reading effectively, quite simply, is knowing how to read as efficiently and accurately as possible. Effective reading includes being able to speed read, scan large documents for the necessary points, and get the entire gist of a document by skimming it. Reading effectively can include a variety of different methods, including:
Skimming. Skimming involves looking at the main parts of a document and gleaning the necessary information from it. Skimming comes in handy when you need to get the main idea of a large document or website in a short amount of time, or when you'd rather not dedicate hours to reading. Typically, this will involve looking at the cover, title and contents pages, chapter headings, sub-headings, the first and last sentence or paragraph within the chapters. On a website, it could involve glancing at the About pages or the pages that have the most relevance.
Scanning. Scanning is useful when looking for the answer to a particular question, or when you need to find a bit of information. Similar to looking for a name in the phone book or in a list, pick out a word or two and scan the document for those words together.
Short cuts. Taking short cuts usually entails reading the first and last sentence of each paragraph or a couple of paragraphs in a chapter or section. This is helpful, as the first and last sentences typically introduce and then summarize the contents of that particular section.
Speed reading. Similar to scanning and skimming, speed reading allows you to quickly read over a document or web page by taking a few words from each sentence and then getting the main idea.
Reading effectively can help your managerial skills in a number of ways, including:
- Save time. If you have a lot of material to go over, learning how to quickly read through information while still gathering the main points is an important tool. This will allow you to be more efficient in the workplace, so you're not bogged down with manuals or other items. Reading effectively also eliminates the need to keep going over information that you didn't catch or understand at first.
- Increase understanding. By knowing how to read information effectively, you will be able to better understand the material you are reading. This is particularly helpful if you're learning new information about a competitor or going over a technical document.
If you are interested in learning how to read more effectively, there are many books and courses that can help you increase your speed and efficiency. Check your local library or continuing education center for classes on speed reading or reading comprehension. In addition, the internet is a good place to find reading tutorials. By learning to read more effectively, you can increase your skills as a manager.