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This article has been written by Maneesh Johari, CEO, Buzan Centre Pune, India.

Introduction

The world is changing at a faster rate than it did maybe a decade ago. One of the most important aspects of our lives is – availability of humungous information on any & every topic under the sun (and beyond).

Global Village

The world is becoming a global village in its’ true sense. It is a well-known fact that companies in the US & Europe outsource their ‘call centre’ work, their back-end operations to people in Asian countries. And these calls could also be completed in real time… instantly.

While on a call – doesn’t it irritate you that after asking a question, you are put on ‘hold’ for a while? It is quite possible that the agent at the other end of the line – needed to look up the answer to your question – by referring to a written note somewhere. The time taken to locate the relevant part, then read it and comprehend it so that it could be communicated coherently – would be the cause of the ‘hold’. This time could vary from a minute to maybe 15 minutes – depending on the skill & expertise of the agent, and the complexity of the question.

Another example of a ‘global village’ that it coming up fast. There are many global options opening up for the lawyers community of late. They would be required to read, comprehend, understand, ‘connect-the-dots’, reflect on possible implications from a variety of sub-sections – from various nations etc. – so that they are able to give a better recommendation to their international clients, who might have global operations and the local laws impact various aspects.

Skills needed

Lawyers need to scan a huge amount of information. They then need to identify possible articles & sections that might work FOR and AGAINST them. They need to read thoroughly ALL these documents – to prepare their case better and also to counterattack the points of the opponent. While reading, they need to understand the context & reflect on its’ implication in their case. Copious Note-making would be needed. Arranging these notes in a manner that they could be referred to in an instant would help. Remembering which note is relevant and where it would be found – is another major skill required. Fumbling to locate relevant papers, facts, figures when it matters most – might adversely impact their image & confidence.

All these for EACH and EVERY Case!

How many cases do these lawyers work on – on a regular basis?

Are lawyers equipped & trained to do these super-human activities well enough?

Or could they do with some help here?

Reading

Let’s explore the most important one: ‘READING’

Do reflect & answer these 2 questions:

  • How many hours a day do you normally read for?
  • What would you guess your reading speed {__ words per minute} to be?

Do take a moment to ponder…

What were your figures?:

(1) ____ hours daily;

(2) ____ words per minute

Now, imagine a situation where you’ve been able to DOUBLE the speed of reading WITH understanding..

What difference would it make to you?

Measure

It is said that ‘what can be measured – can be improved’. Most people know more about the speed of their vehicles – but are clueless about the speed of an activity that takes up maybe 3 to 6 hours of their life – DAILY !

Do appreciate that ‘reading’ implies WITH Comprehension. If you read without understanding – you are basically just looking at ink!

One way to find out your ‘Raw’ reading speed could be to set a timer for one minute and start reading any page. Remember to mark the start and end points. Now simply count the number of words read. This gives you your Raw Reading Speed directly in ____ number of words a minute. If you have the opportunity to check for ‘comprehension’ too – it would be great. This could help you ‘benchmark’ your present state.

To know your ‘Effective’ Reading speed – you need to multiply the Raw speed with the Comprehension percentage.

Eg. If your raw speed is 200 words a minute with a comprehension level of 60% (ie. You managed to answer 3 questions correctly out of 5) – then your ‘Effective’ reading speed would be 200 x (60/100) = 120 words per minute.

In case you’d be interested in knowing your Raw & Effective reading speeds more accurately – you could click on this link:

http://awakenthegenius.org/pages/survey_category.php?screc_id=2

Information Overload

How many hours a day do lawyers need to read for?

There is quite a lot of material that they need to browse through initially – to just locate the relevant material that they need to read seriously.

Having found the relevant passages – they then need to read it WITH understanding. It has been found that most people tend to re-read the material to grasp it better.

All these activities tend to reduce their effective reading speeds and soon they run out of time!

So, then, they need to either forgo reading the additional material earmarked for reading (and risk omitting potentially important information) or else they need to request for an extension of time!

The third {and preferred} option could be to complete reading all that they needed to read – within the given time….

But, for this to happen– they would need to do just one thing.

Learn HOW to READ FASTER – with understanding.

Once they do this – it would change the way they perform.

Brain research shows that ‘the faster you read – the better for comprehension and better for concentration’ (the brain does not get a chance to wander!)

This is precisely what lawyers need – ability to go through the matter faster – with improved understanding & focus.

“Speed Reading” is no longer a ‘good to know’ skill – it is now a MUST HAVE one.


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