The difference between reading, scanning & processing


Reading is one of the best professional development, business development and networking tool I can think of. By choosing and leveraging the right mix of blogs, newsletters, magazines, books, newspapers and more, I have a steady stream of content that, if used well, can make me smarter, help me do my job better, plus provide countless opportunities and excuses to reach out to prospects, customers and partners alike.

But if you’re like me, you don’t have nearly the time you wish you had to read – to really read, digest and take action on what’s in front of you.

This is why I’ve started dividing my time between reading and processing. There are certain sources of information I read – meaning I take the time to actually read from front to back, occasionally take notes on what I’m reading, and think carefully about what it means for my life, my career and my business.

Far more often these days, I’m scanning and processing. Because I know I don’t have time to truly read & digest everything, I resort to scanning content and asking myself the following questions:

  • Would this content be valuable to someone in my network?
  • Is this something I should share with my network (via Twitter, etc.)?
  • Is this something I should follow-up on, i.e. with a prospect or partner?
  • Is this something I should write about myself with a unique position or opinion?

What I end up with by doing this is a stack of articles torn out of magazines and newspapers, as well as links to online stories I can forward, share, leverage, etc. I may not have had time to read the full article, but I realized quickly enough the value it could have to others, and therefore myself as well.