The Skill of Scanning

May 2, 2021 by Greg

The first ‘secret’ of the skill of scanning is that it’s unnecessary to read, study, understand, and master every topic. Instead, find the one good idea which will enhance your operations every month in one of the three key areas: sourcing clients, client retention, and renewals.

I know I’ve increased the discussion from one good idea to three key operational areas of your business, but I am confident you’re still able to follow. When you scan the materials, you only need to look for one good idea which will improve any one of these three key operational areas. Please note, you don’t need one good idea for each.

I recommend you try the following steps to scan and absorb the best material which will help you with your business:

  • Make copies of the written materials.
  • Scan each document and use a highlighter to note anything that catches your attention as a potentially good idea to improve those three areas. It may be a subhead of one of the sections within the text, a statement in the opening paragraph and/or points in the review section. Information presented as bullet points, numbered lists or in boxes is often where a good idea resides.

It will only take you a few minutes of your time to scan even the longest document because you are only looking for the key points to highlight. As soon as you start scanning the documents, you’ll notice suddenly you’ve found a few useful words and phrases from the long documents that have thousands of words combined.

Listen to the audio version next and take notes on how the high points you marked on the transcript are presented and discussed by the contributors. If the contributors provide additional information that will help you understand and implement any of the one good ideas you highlighted on the written materials, then you should pause the audio to take extra notes. Furthermore, watch the video and use the same procedure above to find those your good idea.

After you’ve finished with the audio and video, return your attention to the written material and read and study just those sections, paragraphs, phrases, etc. you highlighted. You may have to read some text before and after your highlighted text to understand it fully, but you don’t have to read the entire document to find a good idea or two.

Next, listen to the teleconference and learn how other business owners are implementing their one good idea they found in previous months’ materials. Try this scanning method a few times, and you’ll quickly discover how little time you need to invest in reading and understanding large amounts of materials.

Remember, you want to avoid empty knowledge; what I mean by this is the knowledge you gain simply to be able to state you know it. Instead, you want to find and absorb a few key concepts that will help move your business to the next level. What is also truly remarkable about this scanning method is the documents you scanned so quickly can be read and studied further in the future to extract other good ideas. It’s like having a gold mine you can visit whenever you want to mine another nugget.

This is what I call the ‘circling-back’ experience. As you use this scanning method more and more, you’ll find yourself circling back to key knowledge areas to add to your understanding. Every time you do so, you’re adding another layer of knowledge and continuing to strengthen your foundation for greater growth.

In my case, I started with technical business skills and then moved to teaching and instructional skills. Before opening my first business, I worked to master direct-response marketing and selling. From there, I moved to higher levels of skills training, and then extensive educational psychology. I then ‘circled back’ to sales and sales processes and developing my knowledge further as a result. I circled again to direct-response marketing for even more knowledge about the topic.

This is also a strategy you should use with every material you’re learning from. If you continue to circle back to increase your knowledge of the three key operational areas above, then you’ll learn more, intensify your level of understanding and mastery of the various subjects and grow more as a person and business professional.

Don’t be stressed about reading, or even understanding, every single bit of information; it’s unnecessary.

I do want you to be stressed about adding just one good idea or strategy from each package which will make an immediate and positive impact on your business. Of course, that’s hardly stressful at all, considering I’ve shown you how quick and easy it is.

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