Secrets of Speed-reading:
How to read faster and comprehend better

In today's fast-paced, information-based business world, successful results often depend on our ability to read and process information quickly.
Continue reading for secrets of Speed Reading..


Do You Have A Poor Memory?

There is absolutely no reason why any individual has to suffer from a poor memory. The individual differences in respect of memory capacities, which we perceive are just the differences in the utilization levels and not those of built-in capacity. Continue reading...

Top 3 Myths On Memory Improvement

Improving your memory is a skill and involves a process. Before you initiate this process, it is important to get some facts right about your brain. Nothing is sadder than not being able to take action by believing in certain myths about memory.
Continue reading...

The 3 Stumbling Blocks of Memory Improvement

You can improve your memory phenomenally by using scientific memory techniques. But it's important for you to get rid of the 3 major stumbling blocks of memory improvement. Do you know what are these blocks? Read on.
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Secrets of Speed-reading:
How to read faster and comprehend better

In today's fast-paced, information-based business world, successful results often depend on our ability to read and process information quickly. We are all faced with overflowing inboxes full of e-mails, enquiries, reports, proposals, then there are faxes, letters, minutes and other documents. It's easy to feel overwhelmed by the huge volume of material we need to read and process.

Speed-reading can help you to read and understand written information much quicker, making it an essential skill in today's business environment. Many people seem to have a lot of misconceptions about speed reading. Here are the three most frequently asked questions:

1. Is it really possible to read faster?
The answer is yes! The average reading speed of most people is only about 200-250 wpm. If you use effective speed reading techniques, it is very much possible to double or even triple your reading speed to 500-700 wpm. In 2007, the six times World Champion Speed Reader Anne Jones read "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" in a record breaking 47 minutes and one second - 4251 words per minute. During my workshops, it is very usual that the participants easily double their reading speeds in just one day.

2. Does speed reading spoil the enjoyment of reading?
Absolutely "No". If anything, speed reading enhances the enjoyment of reading because you will be able to concentrate for longer periods and you will have fewer reading irritations usually caused by bad reading habits.

3. If I read faster, does my comprehension go down?
If you eliminate the bad reading habits, it is very much possible to maintain your comprehension (and even comprehend better) while you read faster. Some of the bad reading habits are:

  1. Reading one word at a time: We have always been taught to read word by word to understand the information better. However, this is exactly the reason why people read slowly. Speed readers train their eyes to view more words at a single glance, thereby increasing their 'eye span'.
  2. Re-reading what you have just read: This is called as 'regression'. Many people either consciously or sub-consciously re-read what they have just read, just to make sure if they read it correctly! This is a huge waste of time and energy.

There are many other bad reading habits too, like sub-vocalisation and eye-fixations.

Now that we have cleared the wrong notions about Speed Reading, lets see what can be done to improve your reading speed and maintain your comprehension. Here are some action points:

  1. Measure your current reading speed: Most people don't even have clue about their current reading speed. If you want to increase your reading speed, it's only obvious that you should know your current speed. Take any article. Count the number of words. Time yourself. Divide the number of words with your time (in seconds). Multiply this with 60 to get your speed in words per minute (wpm)
  2. Do wide-reading: Most of us tend to read similar types of reading material all the time. If you want to improve you reading speed, you must be comfortable with reading any kind of material. So, keep reading all kinds of material: fiction, non-fiction, journals, novels etc.
  3. Increase your eye span: Draw four parallel vertical lines on the article you are reading, so that you have around 3 to 4 words (one chunk) between 2 lines. Try to focus and read the whole chunk at one glance, instead of reading word-by-word. Once you are comfortable with this, draw 3 parallel lines to increase the size of the chunk. This way you will slowly increase your eye span. Remember that you don't have to draw lines forever. You have to do this initially to train your eyes to increase your eye span.
  4. Avoid distractions: As simple as it may seem, most people allow themselves to get distracted. Once you are distracted, you don't usually start from where you left, but you have to re-read a few sentences (or sometimes a few paragraphs) to remind you of the context. Preferably, read during those times where the chances of distraction are minimal. And yes, you can turn off the e-mail alert sounds on your computer!
  5. Read with an objective: Setting your objectives at the beginning of the reading session goes a long way in ideally using your time and effort. Are you reading to fish out particular information? Are you reading to prepare for an exam? Are you reading for pleasure? Depending on the objective, you may have to either read it slowly or skim through it. Frame questions starting with: Why, Who, What, Where, When and How to set your objectives. This will save a lot of time and hence help you increase your reading speed.


Do You Have A Poor Memory?
Of all the mental faculties of humans, the faculty of memory has been the most mysterious from times immemorial. Most of us think that if a person is born with a good memory, he is lucky. We tend to categorize people into two segments – those with a good memory and those with a poor memory.

We believe that a person having a poor memory is cursed for a life time and no matter what he does, there is no way of improving one’s memory capacity. A very small percentage of world population has a fairly good knowledge of how memory works, why most often our memory fails us and how, at times, we can remember certain things so well.

Interestingly, any two individuals on this planet have exactly the same capacity for memory. This may sound incredible, as it is in opposition with our daily experience of witnessing people with varying levels of memory.

If we really get into the basics, every human being has exactly the same mass in the brain. If we take a look into the basic units or the building blocks of the brain – the brain cells or the neurons – any two brains contain approximately the same number of them. It is estimated that every human brain consists of billions of neurons.

Each neuron is capable of making millions of connections with other neurons. All the possible interneuron connections run into several trillions. Coming to the number of inter-neuron connections, the more the merrier. The reason being, the more connections you have, the more is the “processing speed” of the brain. Viewed in this perspective, the memory capacity one can summon from the brain is awesome.

There is absolutely no reason why any individual has to suffer from a poor memory. The individual differences in respect of memory capacities, which we perceive are just the differences in the utilization levels and not those of built-in capacity.

The situation may be likened with two manufacturing units with exactly the same installed capacities. One of them may be fully harnessing its potential and deriving maximum potential. The other might have been ridden with several problems and hence is performing far below the actual capacity.

The point is any two individuals in this world have the same built-in capacity of memory. But how much positive result they take out of it, actually depends on how they utilize the innate potential.

Good memory Vs. Bad memory

If that be the case, then, how do you explain the unmistakable experience of witnessing some people having good memory and some other people having bad memory? In fact, there is nothing like a good memory or a bad memory. Every person has good memory in some areas and also bad memory in certain other areas.

For example, a student may find it too difficult for him to remember the Newton’s laws of Motion. The same student may have an excellent memory for facts and figures on Tennis. People around us tend to brand us as a person with a good memory or otherwise, depending on whether they attach importance to what we remember or what we forget.

In the above case, the student may be branded as a person with a poor memory by his elders and teachers as he was unable to remember his academics. Whereas, his friends etc. may be all praise for his memory, as he can reel off so many facts and figures on Tennis.

The student in question now has a choice. He can accept his friends’ version that he has a good memory. Or he can succumb to the verdict of his authority figures that he has a very poor memory.

If you were that student, what is your choice? Of course, your friends version, right? Please understand that this is only the starting step. To improve your memory in your so-called “weak areas”, you need to use certain memory improvement techniques. Using these techniques, it is possible to improve your memory to an incredible level.


Top 3 Myths On Memory Improvement
Improving your memory is a skill and involves a process. Before you initiate this process, it is important to get some facts right about your brain. Nothing is sadder than not being able to take action by believing in certain myths about memory. How do you come out if this?

There are several myths about memory improvement. Here, I have given information on the top 3 myths. I know these are the "most popular myths", because, the most frequently asked questions people ask me in my training programmes necessarily involve these issues.

Consuming memory pills and tonics is the easiest way to improve your memory.

Most pills and tonics are effective, but in a very very limited way. These pills are definitely good for the well being of your brain. These pills help you have a "healthy brain".

Please understand that healthy brain does not necessarily mean sharper brain. And if your brain is healthy, there is no guarantee that you will have a great memory.

I will give you a good analogy to explain this concept. You can take some medicines/pills etc to have healthy and strong hands. Does that mean you will be able to play a piano? If you want to play a piano, you need to train your hands to be able to do that. This requires effort and patience. Just having healthy hands will not suffice.

Similarly just having a "healthy brain" will not suffice to have a great memory, though it definitely helps. If you want to have a great memory, you need to train your brain for that. The easiest way to improve you memory is to use memory improvement techniques. These techniques give a really good workout to your brain and build your "memory muscles".

If I cross the age of 40, it is certain that my memory power will deteriorate.

Age is never a deterrent to learn any skill. And memorising is a skill. At any age, anyone can learn any skill. The only thing which is required is the "willingness to try'.

Have you not heard of people who went to ballroom dancing classes at the age of 50? And you must be seeing several 60 yr old people jogging on the streets every morning.

Now, these people chose the option to learn new skills. If a person can choose to be physically fit the age of 60, there is nothing that can stop him to be mentally fit. The most important word here is "ACTION". If you are willing to put in action, you can improve your memory irrespective of your age.

By using more of my memory, I am doing a disservice to myself, as I am using up the precious space in my brain.

This is probably the "biggest" myth. You brain has the storage capacity of more than a million computers. You can never use up the entire capacity of the brain in your entire life. It is just impossible. What you must know, here, is an amazing secret of your brain:

"The more you remember, the more you can remember"

That's right. The more exercise you give to your brain, the sharper it becomes. You learn new information by "hooking" it to the existing information in your brain. So, the more you learn, the more hooks you create in your brain. The more "hooks" you have in your brain, the more information you can "hang" on to your brain.

Now that you are aware of these myths, from now onwards, make sure that these myths do not stop you in your quest of memory improvement.


The 3 Stumbling Blocks of Memory Improvement
Do you have a good memory?
Can you remember any information fast?
Can you recall information whenever you want?

If your answer for the above questions is “No” or “sometimes”, then you need to know about the 3 stumbling blocks of memory improvement. Just the awareness of these blocks would also help you in a great way. So what are thee blocks?

1. Disbelief

Most people have an “amazing level” of disbelief on their memory capacity that they don’t even try to memorise new information.

In my seminars, I usually write a 50 digit number on the white board and ask the audience, “how much time you would take for memorising this number?”

And I get some great answers like:

“You mean the whole 50 digit number?
“I think I will never be able to do it”
“Come again. Memorise what?”
“It will take an year for me”

Well, I do not find fault with any of the above responses. But what is interesting to note is that no one wants even to try it. What causes such disbelief in people in their memory power? The simple answer is “lack of awareness”.

Your brain is the most amazing machine on the planet. If you train your brain, nothing is impossible. Make sure that you give your memory it’s true value.

Many people brag about their memory, but don’t do anything to make it good. You just can’t wish to improve your memory. You need to act. You have to give your memory a good workout.

The next time you want to memorise anything, just make a committed effort to memorise it. Believe that you can do it. You will be surprised with the result.

2. Disinterest

You know that interest plays a vital role in the process of memory. If you have to memorise any information, YOU HAVE TO BE INTERESTED IN IT!

If you don’t, then you will not be able to memorise it. Trying to memorise information, without getting interested in it, is a great way to waste your precious time.

Try to find out ways and means of making the information fun to learn. Try to find an expert on that information and discuss the topic with him. The expert can explain the same information in a way you could never think of. Well, that’s why he is an expert!

Remember this: If the information is not interesting enough, it’s your duty to make sure it is interesting.

3. Disuse

The fastest way to forget information is to not use it in your day-to-day life.
Research indicates that people forget about 80% of the new information they learn in as less as 24 hours. Unbelievable, isn’t it? To stop this loss of information, you have use the information you learn as much as possible.

Some ideas are:

Teach the information to someone else.
Discuss the points with your peers.
Write a summary in your own words.
Write an article about it!
Think how can you teach it to any 5 years old kid.

Memory improvement is not possible unless you kick the three stumbling blocks out of your way. Eliminating these blocks early on in the process of memorising can save you a mighty amount of time and mental energy.

Coming out of the traps of disbelief, disinterest and disuse is you first step to memory improvement.

It’s easy. If only you take action.


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Article written by Nishant Kasibhatla. Nishant Kasibhatla is a Grand Master of Memory. He is a trainer, speaker & author of top-selling book: Instant Memory Improvement. To know more about Nishant's workshops, visit http://www.nishantkasibhatla.com . If you are interested to purchase Nishant's Ultimate Memory Course E-book Package, visit http://www.memoryvision.com.sg/umc.htm 

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