The one piece of advice that is common when coming from successful people is to read more. They dedicate their knowledge about their specific fields to reading.
“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.”
– Frederick Douglas
If you want to learn about anything, read.
If you want to grow, read.
If you want to polish your skills, read.
If you want to sharpen your mind, read.
Reading isn’t limited to only books. With the internet comes a ton of reading material to choose from. You don’t even have to go out to get a newspaper or magazine; everything is online. Why not make the most of it. Reading – books, newspapers, magazines, poems, stories, blogs, articles – anything counts.
With so much to read, one question that I usually come across is how to find time to read. Now, this is one of the questions that you can answer the best because you know your schedule better than anyone else. Like everything else you do, you need to find time to read.
How to find time for reading
“If you are going to get anywhere in life you have to read a lot of books.”
– Roald Dahl
Look at your schedule, find the time that you spend watching TV, shows, YouTube videos, Netflix. Reserve half of that time for reading. Calculate the time it takes to commute (if you use public transport) and reserve it for reading. Find the days you have appointments that have a little waiting time, take a book along.
The point here is to read in the little time gaps you get. If you can’t find out a few hours space to dedicate to reading, sprinkle it in between your commitments.
Better yet, you have to make reading your priority, you need to find time for it. If you really want to do something, saying you don’t have time means you don’t really want to do it. Because when you really want to, you find the time.
Why should you base reading goals on your reading speed?
If you want to set a routine then being realistic about it is the best way to go. Just because Warren Buffett reads 500 pages a day, doesn’t mean you have to. Take inspiration from things and tweak it according to your situation, following others down to the T can actually ruin the whole thing for you.
Find out how many pages you can read on an average, or how many words per minute. Staples (the popular office supply chain) has a test you can take to find out how fast you read. They collected reading speed data as part of their advertising campaign for selling e-readers. The speed reading tool used for the campaign is available online to try.
Use the speed reading tool, take the test, and see how fast you can read.
The test also asks questions based on the passage you read to see if you actually comprehend what you read. Just reading fast means nothing if you can’t actually retain the information.
According to the data on how fast other demographics read against yours, which can be seen after you answer the question, the average adult reads 300 words per minute.
Here are the demographics shown on the Staples graph-
- Third-grade students – 150 words per minute
- Eight grade students – 250 words per minute
- Average college student – 450 words per minute
- Average “high-level executives” – 575 words per minute
- Average college professor – 675 words per minute
- Speed readers – 1,500 words per minute
- World speed reading champion – 4,700 words per minute
If you are not a regular reader, chances are you will fall between eight grade students and average college student, that is, 250 to 450. People who never read, easily fall under the eight grade students mark.
This isn’t to judge your reading speed as slow or anything. You just need to know this so that you can make a realistic timetable for your reading.
What kind of reading is best for you?
“Reading is a basic tool in the living of a good life.”
– Mortimer J. Adler
There are four types of reading that are used by most of us.
1. Scanning – Scanning means looking for only specific information while reading, like using keywords.
Examples of this are: searching for a name in a phonebook, searching for your favorite soup on the menu.
2. Skimming – Skimming is the opposite of scanning, here you gather the main idea of the text, then you look for information or lines to back up the general idea of the text. This is used to read more in less time.
Examples of this are: reading other people’s reviews while buying products, reviewing your notes before an examination.
3. Intensive Reading – This is one of the most time-consuming reading techniques because it is used to retain information for the long term, so you read every word carefully.
Examples of this are: reading legal documents, reading business proposals, non-fiction works.
4. Extensive Reading – Extensive reading is the technique used when you read for pleasure. You choose your material, your pace, and the way you comprehend. This helps you read for fun while helping you improve your writing, better your vocabulary, and increase your comprehension power.
Examples of this are: Fiction, poetry, fun articles.
Now that you know the main kinds of reading we do depending on different material and different situations, you need to figure out what are you aiming for. If you are looking to read more, then you surely are aiming for intensive or extensive reading.
Intensive Reading works best for non-fiction because you want to actually use the information in real life, make lifestyle changes based on what you read, and apply your knowledge obtained from reading. For this, you need to remember what you read and grasp the concepts entirely.
To get the most out of a book, what you can do is make notes as you go. Use highlighters to highlight the paragraphs that you find important, use sticky notes to write your thoughts, scribble in the margins, use tons of page markers. Writing a review of the book, once you are done, also helps. When you come back to the book in the future, you will be able to recall information based on your takeaways from the book.
Extensive reading works best for fiction is because you aren’t reading to retain information. You are reading for entertainment, for fun, to just enjoy. This is one of the most popular hobbies and the reason why fiction sells.
Fiction has important lessons to teach too, but those are mostly life lessons hidden away in the story. Although this is done for fun, you actually improve your reading, writing, vocabulary, and comprehension skills, which is why you are always suggested to pick up reading as a hobby.
Why do you want to read more?
“In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you.”
– Mortimer J. Adler
People thinking about reading more boils down to two things: reading faster, and reading lots. A combination of both is every book lover’s dream. When both are incorporated simultaneously, it can boost your reading routine to another level. Both of the things, when done alone on their own, have their benefits too.
Reading more can mean different things for different people:
- Having more time to read
- Reading faster/ Speed reading
- Reading more books
- Finishing all the books started but never finished
- And so on
Tips for reading more
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
– Dr. Seuss
I would suggest taking a speed reading class to pick up some things, but apart from that, here are some techniques you can use.
- Listen to audiobooks – People who have difficulty reading can start by listening to audiobooks. Listening to audiobooks means you do not have to take time out of your routine apart to do it, you can listen to it while doing other things. Many people have started realizing how beneficial it is.
You can listen to audiobooks while cleaning your home, doing laundry, cooking, commuting, taking a walk, going to the gym, etc. Even by incorporating it in your daily routine you actually get to listen to a lot more than having to take time out to read.
- Adopt a new way – If you really have no time to read, say you work two jobs and are thinking of starting your own business. You would obviously want to learn all you can. There’s where you have to think outside the box.
You can listen to reviews by people who have read a particular book you want to read and get the summary. Most of the time, people give their opinion with the review so it sort of takes away the privilege of forming your own opinion. So if that doesn’t bother you then go for it. Listen to 3-4 people whose opinions you value.
If you are really short on time, then use a service like Blinkist, which has summaries of almost all the popular non-fiction books and are adding more daily. I have a premium subscription of Blinkist and make it a point to read at least one summary each day. And this is apart from the reading I do on a daily basis. Blinkist basically helps me decide which books I want to read by reading a 15-minute summary of that book. The best part is that these summaries are available in text as well as audio format. This changes the way we consume books.
- Take up reading challenges – Reading challenges motivate everyone, if you would like accountability for your challenges, then join reading groups. Goodreads and Facebook have reading groups that support each other to reach their reading goals. There are various reading challenges that run on YouTube and Instagram that you can participate in. There are also yearly challenges you can participate in, keeping track of the books you read based on the genre, publication, author, and so on. You can find my yearly challenge on Goodreads here.
- Use a pen as a pointer – Remember how we were always told to read with our fingers pointing at the words when we were kids, it’s the same thing. This technique makes sure to keep your eyes directed at the sentence you are reading and also doesn’t let you lose your place in the paragraph.
- Buy an e-reader – An e-reader like Kindle means you don’t have to carry a bulky book any place you go. If you are not into the book you are reading, you can quickly change the book. There are tons of free books. You can get any book you want, no matter where you are. The books cost you less in terms of money as well as the time required to get a physical book. This gives you no other reason not to read. For the record, I use a Kindle Paperwhite.
- Make time to read – Saying I don’t have time just won’t do if you really want to incorporate reading into your routine. You have to give up some other hobby to fit reading in, or you just would have to find time to do both.
Reading more depends as much on your decision as it does on a mixture of all of these tips. If you decide that no matter what, you are going to find time for reading, then you have half the battle won already.
“Luckily, I always travel with a book, just in case I have to wait on line for Santa, or some such inconvenience.”
– David Levithan
Some classes you can take to learn how to speed read and comprehend what you are reading-
How Reading can impact your Day to Day Life?
Reading is a healthy habit, which, if practiced daily, can change your entire life around. Do you want to know why? Through Reading, one can not only gain knowledge but also stay acquainted with the outside as well as the inside world. The best thing about reading daily is to have an isolated place for yourself in your mind, where you can run off to. Most people don’t have the patience or intention to read, and that too, daily. Though this is a habit that takes time to settle in but trust me, once it does, you would never regret it. So, here is a list of reasons why you should read daily?
Why should you read daily?
- To gain knowledge
Once you start reading daily, and by Reading, it can be anything – you can read few pages of a novel, or a magazine, or newspaper, or even poetry – you would notice within weeks how much your knowledge regarding the outer world has improved. Through Reading, one can have clear information regarding the current affairs, and hence, stay updated.
- To improve your vocabulary
Through Reading, you can definitely learn new words and hence, improve your vocabulary. Most people make it a habit to learn a new word from the dictionary every day, but if you read daily, you are bound to get new words and make a list of them on a notebook with their meanings, which is definitely going to be helpful for you.
- To have a make-believe world
The most beautiful consequence of Reading is having one’s own imaginary world, where one can live a life full of magic. This is the extraordinary superpower one acquires while reading. In this busy daily life of ours, we all look for a secluded place where we can feel the essence of peace. Reading can fly you off to the imaginary land of sunflowers, daisies, and cats who can indeed talk.
- To become more attentive
Most people lack patience nowadays. Being impatient and restless has become a severe problem in today’s world. Here, Reading can help you calm your mind and improve your observation skills. It works like meditation. In no time, you would find your mind focusing on details and becoming more attentive to events, which used to go unnoticed.
- To reduce stress
Reading is similar to meditation, and hence, it definitely helps to reduce your stress. Books always have a calming effect on one’s mind. It takes you away from daily problems and stressful situations and helps your mind to gain stability. Not only it helps in reducing stress, but it also helps to decrease the anxiety levels of a person.
Everyone should make reading a daily habit. One should switch off the mobile phones, turn off the television and take some time out to read. It works wonders on one’s day-to-day life and changes one person’s entire personality. Though it can be hard at first, with time, you would cherish the moments alone, reading in a corner while your mind is flying off to Narnia.
Post-COVID: Transformation of work Culture
The environment and situation around us promote us to adapt to change. The epidemic COVID 19 has not just changed the structure of a workplace but also changed the idea of communication between individuals. Technology has become the survival kit for many organizations as they move their offices online. Applications and communication websites such as zoom, slack, Trello have become the organization’s best friends. With the fast-growing online base, the future of companies post-COVID 19, is something that needs to be considered or discussed. Work from home scenario was first seen to be frustrating but now people seem to have become accustomed to it. Hence when they do make the shift from a virtual office to a real-time office, it is sure to transform the meaning of work culture.
Working from the comfort of your bed to a flexible job timing, you log into your meeting this work from home has become the new normal. Companies have been changing the way they function, and it has been a chaotic few months for everyone due to the corona pandemic. This has made virtual offices a reality. Trying to function at times like this has been difficult, the change has been both positive and negative, while also requiring improvements. But, going back to office spaces and resuming work, would include massive changes and adjustment from both parties. Businesses would try to survive with the conditions, while the employees would be trying to adjust to the void that COVID left behind. Going back to work would be defined differently. The definition would include people coming in and out at their preferred timings, as well as for deciding how much time they want to work in proximity with people. This means that people would come into office spaces, but with their own weekly schedule and pace. Therefore a great cultural change would take place for many industries and setups. Working form home includes the dress code of wearing pajamas and thinking of comfort, which would affect the concept of dress codes in office spaces. The idea of comfort would change the dressing culture of organizations.
The culture of meetings and communication would have a different understanding among the organizations. Working with virtual mode to communicate for so many months meant adapting to it, and has become the most efficient way. The technology in real-time offices would just be a means of connection, and not requiring everyone to be in the same room. Not just this but the idea of meetings all together might be re-evaluated. Commuting ideas or messages would turn into email threads or chat rooms. Presentations could be shared online and interaction between people would remain in these mediums. Meetings defined this way would lead to co-working spaces being promoted by companies for their employees. Hence, the idea of buildings as an office space would change as the organizations would pay for their employees to use such spaces and would cut down on real estate for organizations. This would be different for different sectors of work, but nonetheless the culture of working in an office building would change.
With business comes, traveling and the idea of the same would truly change. People would be more hesitant to take up traveling, and if they do they would be more careful and take precautions. Paranoia might seep in and travel to other countries would be avoided as much as possible. Further companies might even evolve traveling, by making it online. Organizations would convert meetings in other countries online and it would seem more efficient in terms of cost as well. Post pandemic companies are going to be in a crunch in terms of finance, their idea would be to survive. The ones who adapt to change and shift with time are the ones who survive, but to survive they would try to cut the extra expenses. Survival kit would also incorporate the sacking of employees. Many companies have already started to fire employees due to the sudden downfall of the economy. Various sectors are trying to survive and keep afloat, and making difficult decisions.
Safety being a huge concern during COVID would still remain post-pandemic as well. Individuals are going to be more aware of their surroundings, and their health would be their priorities. So, when they do meet their colleagues, greetings would be different. People would be careful and social distancing would now become a part of their normal behavior. Companies too are going to take more precautions with their employees’ health. Routine check-ups would be very common, and temperatures would be checked when employees enter the buildings. When individuals open the door to enter their office they would not just be greeted by the view of their cubicles. They would also spot sanitizers placed everywhere, and trying to guess who is under the mask. Health care rules would be altered, an employee feeling under the weather would be asked to work from home. The time of the employees is monetized and hence it wouldn’t matter where they work as long as they do the required days work. Work culture would be under construction Post-COVID and only time can tell what the new look truly holds for everyone.
Tools to Find and Work With Influencers to Market Your Business
For any business to grow, marketing its products and services to the right audience is necessary. One marketing channel that many businesses seem to avoid due to ignorance is influencer marketing.
“Influencer marketing is the modern word of mouth & is eating the lunch of traditional digital media in many ways.”
In simple words, with influencer marketing, you will be using popular people with a large following on social media and blogosphere to promote your product. The outcome can be tremendously positive. Today I will help you explore how you can find influencers in your business niche and how to negotiate with them.
“Influence marketing is an art and science. The art is the crafting and creating of content that adds value to people’s lives, personally or for their business. The science is the tactics and tools of building tribes and followers on the big social networks”
The first step for using influencer marketing is finding the top influencers in your business niche. For this, you can use any of the following tools –
This is a freemium application in that you can use certain features for free but will have to pay to use its full set of features. Even with its free mode, Buzzsumo is extremely useful for marketers to identify and categorize influencers into various types, like bloggers, reviewers, trainers, beauty experts, and so on.
This will later allow you to use them appropriately for business promotion activities. In addition, Buzzzsumo is also a great tool to know what types of content is trending for a particular day or week.
If you wish to focus largely on twitter influencers, then Tweetdeck is the perfect tool for the job. While you can certainly use this tool to identify influencers that have a large number of followers, its true usefulness lies in the fact that you can also see how many Twitter lists these influencers are on.
This will allow you to accurately gauge the popularity and impact of the influencer enabling you to avoid those who have the least impact and hire influencers with the biggest reach.
This is another great tool that will help you judge the quality of an influencer. The tool will use various metrics like replies, follows, mentions, etc. of the influencer to see how impactful they are. Finally, Kred will provide a rating based on the criteria that will make it much easier for you to find top quality influencers. If you are just starting out with influencer marketing, then Kred is the tool for you.
If you do not wish to waste time on research and finding influencers, then you should try the influencer marketing software – Group High. They maintain a centralized data of some of the biggest influencers on the internet. Plus, the influencers are categorized based on different niches like sports, travel, beauty, tech, and so on. This will make influencer marketing an extremely simple process.
Working With Influencers
Once you have found the important influencers in your niche, you can start approaching and negotiating with them. For this, the following tips will be useful:
The first option is to ask the influencer to review your offering. You can allow them to use the product or service for a few days and ask them to post their honest reviews about it on their social media page. Customers always conduct in-depth research about a product they are interested in.
“95% of people trust recommendations from others over branded content, even if they don’t know them personally.”
As such, if they come across a review from an influencer they are following, then an extremely positive review may push them to choose your product. Now, it is also possible that the reviewer may not like your product. As such, you can ask them not to post a bad review but do not ask them to post a false review. It is unethical and will eventually turn against you.
If you don’t want influencers to review your product, you can negotiate with them to publish a sponsored post. Though a sponsored post might seem like a review, there is a big difference. In a review, the influencer is free to say negative things about your product. But, in a sponsored post, you will be paying them to publish a post about your brand.
“People influence people. Nothing influences people more than a recommendation from a trusted friend. A trusted referral influences people more than the best broadcast message. A trusted referral is the Holy Grail of advertising.”
This will ensure that there is nothing excessively negative published about your product or service. However, you have to understand that some bloggers will likely state in the post that it is a ‘sponsored post’ if they are a strict follower of the FTC guidelines. But, do not let it stop you because the exposure gained through a post by an influencer marketer is well worth the money spent.
Another way to use an influencer is through giveaways. This can be a great strategy since a giveaway allows the influencer to hold a contest for their followers with your product or service as the prize. As a result, they are very likely to agree to such arrangements.
Plus, they will also be neutral when talking about the giveaway and only mention its benefits. So, as far as you are concerned, a giveaway is the perfect tactic to get a positive mention of your product from an influencer to their numerous followers. This is essentially a win-win for both parties.
Make sure to work with the influencer to come up with a great contest for the giveaway. It should be exciting for all participants. And remember, the objective of the giveaway is to ensure that many people participate in it. So, don’t complicate the contest. Keep it simple and you are guaranteed to see a fantastic response and exposure.
Many influencers will be contributors to big media outlets that will have a reach to millions of readers. And this is an opportunity you must fully explore. In addition to posting favorable posts on social media and personal blogs, you can ask the influencers whether they are willing to publish a post about your product or service on the website in which they are a contributor. Or you can ask them to let you write a guest post on their blog.
Now, do not have any expectations of how much exposure you will receive in such posts. After all, they are publishing to a third party website and will usually have to contribute a useful piece of content. The best they can possibly do is mention your product or service briefly. But, considering the exposure the article will provide your brand, this is a good marketing strategy that you must definitely try out.
In today’s times, social media is a life-changing tool for small businesses. The plethora of platforms available at our disposal to use – to benefit us and our businesses in ways that didn’t seem possible before – offers a huge opportunity to engage with a community of prospects at a fraction of the cost.
“Influencer marketing is something to pay attention to. We’re used to influencers being people like the Kardashians, but we all have our Kardashians at our events. These people are called micro-influencers and they can have a large impact when used strategically.”
Influencer marketing lets you tap in on a community of people who can be potential customers. The right influencer can allow you to gain many prospects. It is important to learn what works for the current times, and influencer marketing doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon so you might as well use the opportunity to the fullest.
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