Your ability to be informed as a networking professional is critical to your success, but how can you stay ahead when swamped with reading? Every day data bombards you. Stacks of reports, journals and trade publications crowd your office, emails flood your inbox, all serving as a nagging reminder that you might be one step behind.

Here is the good news: in the next ten minutes, you’re going to double your reading speed while maintaining comprehension. It’s so easy anyone can do it. Simply follow along and you will breeze through any written material from magazine articles to business publications to that novel you wish you had time to read. You’ll finally be ahead of the stack.

All you need to get started is a kitchen timer and a willingness to explore a new way to use your brain. To begin, pick an article in this magazine. Set your timer and read for twenty seconds. When finished, count the number of lines you read and write that number down. This will give you an idea of your present reading speed.

Three-Step Process

Three aspects of the way you read determine your reading speed: physical posture, mental posture and reading technique.

The magnificently powerful human brain instantly recognizes words at speeds hardly imaginable. Yet in school we were programmed like a sports car that only shifts into first gear to “Go slowly, be careful, back up, sound it out, and comprehend every single word.” This snail-in-the-mud programming undermines your potential and wastes a lot of precious time.

Are you ready to shift into fifth gear and enjoy a lifetime of fast, effortless reading?

Step 1: Get Physical

Studies show that this specific physical posture helps you read faster and comprehend more: place your feet comfortably on the floor, sit up straight, and fully relax your shoulders as you exhale. Do it now. Relax your face and gently smile—can you feel a difference?

Then prop up or hold up the magazine about 45 to 60 degrees and slightly tilt your head downwards. You’re now in the ideal posture for reading.

Step 2: Expectancy and the Tangerine

Tell yourself what you want to get from your reading. Never read blindly. Always have a purpose and expect success.

Next create an ideal state of mind using “The Tangerine Technique.” It’s an odd technique, but it gets your brain working in such a way that you can read swiftly through anything. Play along to see how it works for you.

• Reach your hand out in front of you and pick up an imaginary tangerine—do it right now as you are reading this. Imagine its color, texture and maybe even the sweet, tangy smell. Then, lob it from hand to hand to sense its weight.

• With your dominant hand, position the imaginary tangerine on the upper-rear portion of your head. Touch that area gently with your hand and imagine the tangerine floating a couple of inches above your head. Bring your hand down and relax your shoulders completely. Pretend this magical tangerine always stays there, no matter how your head moves.

• Close your eyes and let the tangerine float above and behind your head a few inches. Notice how much more relaxed and alert you feel. Imagine your field of vision opening up.

• Maintain this feeling and gently open your eyes. Make sure your book is properly propped up and read for another twenty seconds. Again, write down the number of lines you read.

Step 3: Upper-Half Reading

Glide your vision across the upper half of the words you read. In other words, don’t focus on the full word—just the upper portion. Play with it on this paragraph. Do you notice the difference? Most people find it is easier to get the meaning of a sentence by gliding across the top portion of the words. It’s a novel idea based on scientific research that actually works!

Another tip: when you finish one line, quickly zip your eyes back to the beginning of the next line. You should now find it easier to comprehend whole words and phrases at much higher speeds while eliminating bad habits such as re-reading and focusing on individual words to sound them out.

Let’s read for another twenty seconds... Set posture, relax, gently smile, tilt your head and prop your magazine. Close your eyes and expect success for your session. Put your tangerine in place, touching the back of your head to get the feeling while imagining your visual field opening up.

Now gently open your eyes and again begin reading for twenty seconds, gliding your eyes across the top of the words and zipping to the next line.

Count the lines again. What difference did you notice? How many more lines did you get through? Isn’t it amazing that you improved that much in less than ten minutes!

Try it again for another twenty seconds. Use everything you just learned. This time, push yourself a little. Challenge yourself to read faster still.

You Are Brighter Than You Think

In the Genius Code home-study course that I coauthored with mind development pioneer Win Wenger, we say, “You are brighter than you think.” You have great resources of mind that you accessed today with these simple three steps to double your reading speed.

Commit to using these reading techniques on everything you read. Review the three steps at least a couple more times and write them down, then put a reminder note on your desk or in your briefcase. Enjoy the benefits of increased speed and comprehension. You’ll see the ease of reading continuing to grow as you strengthen your new skills as an efficient, effective reader.

PAUL R. SCHEELE is founder of Learning Strategies
Corporation, a private school and publisher
in Minnesota. He has authored many books and
programs to help students maximize their
potential including the PhotoReading program.