How to Improve your Project Management Skills with Speed Reading

The following is a guest post. Jimmy Cowan is an avid reader. His love for reading was inspired by his grandmother who introduced him to reading. Jimmy is a certified speed reader and reviews the best speed reading techniques on his website.

A project generally goes through 5 stages – Initiate, plan, execute, monitor and control, and closure. A project manager has to:

  • decide through case document and feasibility study whether to pursue the project
  • plan the project and execute it successfully
  • monitor and control the project at regular intervals
  • finally, closure of the project and communicate the outcome to the clients and stakeholders

speed reading

The five phases of the project are carried out by the project team, led by a project manager.

The Common Denominator

Effective communication is the key element throughout the different phases of the project. A project manager has to communicate with the clients, vendors, and superiors to give them an update on how the project is planned, progressing, budget management, and finally the outcome of the project.

To be a successful project manager, you have to brush up on your skills at regular intervals. PMP certification is a known credential for project management. PMP certification will give an edge over other project managers in the market.

To further enhance your skills, there is a lot of information available on the internet about project management, how to manage a project, different tools in the market that is useful for various projects and webinars on various project management tools. A project manager must have current and advanced skills.

A project manager works long hours on a project. While working on projects, a project manager has a long list of information to read – emails, project documents and reports, legal documents, articles on the internet, and the list goes on. The amount of workload a project manager has, there won’t be enough time to read, unless you resort to speed reading.

Speed Reading

Speed reading is a skill to read faster than the average speed. The average reading speed is 200 to 250 words per minute. There are different techniques to acquire this skill.

  1. Sub-vocalization – When you’re reading, avoid reading in your head. Most of us when we read, we tend to read every word in our head. The process of reading every word by word in your mind is called sub-vocalization. Sub-vocalization can be avoided, with practice. While reading, keep a finger on your lips or chew on a chewing-gum or mumble on chocolate. Once you practice reading without saying every word, you will eventually read faster than your average reading speed.
  2. Skimming and Scanning – When you skim through a book, you’re only picking up important words or lines from a sentence. Scanning is just glancing through pages to obtain only the information that is important. This method can rapidly increase your reading speed. You can initially practice this method, by reading newspapers, novels, and blogs. Later, you can move on to more complicated documents, case studies, reports and so on.

An example of skimming is – Now, read this sentence, ‘The coffee is hot’. Normally, anybody would read this sentence as ‘The coffee is hot’. In skim reading, this sentence is read as ‘coffee hot’. This 4-word sentence is read in 2 words, thus saving time. Similarly, when you’re reading a paragraph, read just the first and last line of that paragraph. Then, scan through the rest of the paragraph. The first and last line will give you an idea of what the paragraph is about and while scanning through the middle of the paragraph, you can pick up important information like dates, figures, names, or anything that you feel is important.

The process of skimming through information is based more on your instincts. So go with your gut feeling while skimming through pages to pick up important information.

  1. Vision Regression – While reading our eyes go back and forth to pick up information. The movement of our eyes going back and forth is called vision regression. The reason for vision regression could be, the failure to comprehend, difficulty understanding a specific word or missed out on a word. Vision regression costs us a lot of time on re-reading information. Avoid vision regression by placing a card over the already read sentences. Then, continue to slide the card over the sentences, as you proceed further with the reading.  This will help to control your eye movements. However, this method too will require regular practice.
  2. Pointer or Tracker-and-Pacer Method – Pointer method is pointing a finger whereas tracker-and-pacer method is pointing a pen below the text that you’re reading. Slide your finger or pen from one line to next as you continue to read further. This method helps in reading with concentration and also avoids vision regression.
  3. Time your reading speed – Read a page and see in how much time you were able to read. It will determine your reading speed. To increase the speed of your reading, read an additional page or paragraph more than what you read the previous day in the same amount of time. Repeat this method until you achieve the reading speed. This method takes time and practice to achieve. Don’t get disheartened if you’re not successful in the initial days. It requires patience and effort.
  4. Train your eyes and brain – The most important senses required for reading is your vision and mind. Your eyes read the information, and your brain absorbs and processes them. When you practice speed reading, you’re training your eyes and brain. You have to concentrate on what you’re reading so that your brain can comprehend the information you’re reading and memorize them.

There are many excellent speed reading courses in the market, including Spreeder CX. You can see the Spreeder Review here. Reading heaps of documents is quite tiring. Some of the documents could be confidential and handing them over to a team member would not be advisable. You will have to invest your time in reading, particularly the ones required for your project. The documents could contain information regarding budget, intricate company details, product information and other relevant information required for the success of your project and without going through or studying these documents, you will not able to start working on the project. However, time may not be a luxury for you. So opt for the speed reading techniques and save time on reading piles of documents, emails, and reports.