Time management – How to quickly read business material

 In Practice Management

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Accelerated learning techniques for increased reading speed and comprehension

OPIR method of readingUse the OPIR* method to churn through business material and sales books without missing important information. Keeping up with rapidly evolving sales knowledge and product information demands continuous effort from salespeople. Accelerated learning techniques make a difference.

Use these accelerated learning techniques to increase sales, product, and market knowledge.


Read the front and back covers. Look at the flaps inside each cover. Read the table of contents, looking for subjects and headings that are of special interest to you. Use a highlighter to mark out anything that stands out. This should take no more than 5 minutes.

Next turn the pages quickly, about 30 to 40 a minute. Get a feel for the way the document is structured. Read a paragraph here and there to get a sense of the style. This should take no more than five minutes even for a substantial book.

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This is a speed-reading technique that requires no effort. Just pay attention to things that catch your eye. Mark them if you wish.

At this point you can decide if the text is worth reading. If nothing has caught your attention, discard the document. Throw it away, put it on a shelf, or give it away. You will never read it.


Turn the pages again one at a time. Stop and read an occasional sentence or paragraph. If it helps to have some structure, read the first sentence or paragraph of each chapter. Read any questions or summaries at the end of each chapter. Seek a better sense for what you will learn when you read more.

Use a highlighter to mark out sections that you want to spend more time on. Limit this phase to ten minutes. Giving yourself a limited time to do this is important. It will increase reading speed and comprehension.


Return to the parts that you are interested in and skim the relevant material. Read each paragraph quickly. Drag your hand or finger down the page to keep your eye moving (another speed-reading skill). Slow down for anything that is particularly interesting for you. Use a coloured pen or highlighter to mark useful passages. Make notes in the margins. Dog ear corners or colour page edges for information that you might want to access quickly.

You should find it relatively easy to cover the good parts of a substantial tome in less than half an hour.


Review what you have learnt. Return to the pages you have marked. Read your notes and what you have highlighted. Make a separate aid memoir of what you have learnt.

Mind maps are a useful visual way to create your learning record. Google ‘Mind maps’ if you haven’t come across the term or want to know more.

Finally, note how you plan to use the learning and schedule any relevant actions in your ‘To Do’ list or calendar.

Using the OPIR accelerated learning techniques should enable you to absorb a substantial document in less than an hour. The more you use it, the faster you will increase reading speed and comprehension. This will save you at least an hour and probably two for every business book of product manual you read. What is more, OPIR will double or triple retention.

If you are looking for accelerated learning techniques or speed-reading tips to expand sales knowledge and product understanding, the OPIR method offers an instantly effective solution. Anyone can develop speed reading skills by following the method described above.

* OPIR – Overview, Preview, InView, Review

Related articles

This page links 18 articles about accelerated learning.


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