How to Do Reading in DDM

There is no doubt that you have read thousands of books | articles | magazine in your previous life.  These readings shaped who you are today. 

However, I would like to point out the common phenomenon that people usually encounter during their reading.  I would use the term “Preference” instead of “Mistake” to describe these phenomenon due to different reading approaches under particular scenarios. 

Therefore, what we are going to discuss below will be the reading approaches that we expect to adapt in DDM. 

Common Phenomenon in Reading

Words are not not 100% read

This Phenomenon Is Simple: Words Are Not 100% Read in an Article.

You may wonder why people will not read all the words in an article.  In fact, this is the most common phenomenon occurred during every reading.  As mentioned above, the suitability of reading all words depends on the situation.  Below are the scenarios that most people will choose not to read all the words in an Article.

The Article Is Not important

It makes sense that you don’t go through every single word in the newspaper or magazine when your reading is only for leisure.  If you do the reading without any purposes, there is definitely no need to read through every single word.

You Don’t Know Whether the Article Is Important or Not

In your daily routine, you may encounter hundreds of articles approaching.  Due to the limited working hours, it is not feasible for you to read every single word for every single article.

For example, when you are assigned a task for conducting a research to explore whether a specific country is a good market to expand the business, there are millions of articles popping up in Google search result that it is impossible to read all of them.  In this situation, what you are going to do is to screen out the “Relevant” and “Important” articles from the Articles pool.  You will simply read its Title | Keywords | Key phrase | Conclusion….

Because of your smart choices of not reading every single word in the article, you have enhanced your productivity.  And that’s how our education system trains us during our school life.

Let’s put it in another way, that means most people will agree that they are happy and willing to read every single word in an Article which they think it is “Relevant” and “Important”.

Now the question is, how do a person know that he correctly defines an article as “Irrelevant” and “Unimportant”?  (which leads him/ her doesn’t read every single word in an Article and eventually make a mistake).

So you can see that “Not Reading Every Single Word” is a matter of choice instead of capability.  Therefore, we need to figure out the process of how a human being defines an Article as “Important”.

Let’s start with the 1st game.  Try to find out the Alphabet “A” within a pool of Characters below (of course do it without using the “Find” function in your browser):

Baldkja9203r201\
2830\[ap]ABadu2
Baldkja9203r201F
2830\[ap]c0D808

Easy, right?  Most of the people can spot out the “A” within 3 seconds. 

Carry on with the 2nd game.  Find out one series of the Alphabets “Axc” within a pool of Characters below:

Baldkja9203r201\109($
2830\[ap]ABadu2dafa=
Baldkja9203r20Axc1Fx
2830\[ap]c0D80823029

A bit harder, but you can still make it within 5 seconds, right? 

The last one.  How about finding “2ljs34a” in the Character Pool below:

Baldkja9203r2j01\aldjfaljsda
2ljs34aABadu2adlfjalsj32da
Baldkja92032ljs34dr201F2b
2830\[ap]c0D808232iu342d
Baldkja9203r2j01\aldjfaljsda
2830\[ap]ABadu2adlfjalsj32
Baldkja92032ljt34ar201F2b
2830\[ap]c0D808232iu342d
Baldkja9203r2j01\aldjfaljsda
2830\[ap]ABadu2adlfjalsj32
Baldkja92032ljs34a201F2b
2830\[ap]c0D808232iu342d

How many seconds you have used to spot out the answer?  Within 3 seconds ?  And the most important point is, have you read through ALL the rows and found out that there are actually 2 answers inside the Character Pool? 

The design of the games theorises our daily reading behaviour.  Based on the games above, we observe some reasons of human NOT reading every single word when he/ she is reading:

1.  People will skip what he/ she regards as “Unimportant” or “Irrelevant”.

2.  People do not know what he/ she is going to find.  In the 1st example, you didn’t know you need to find the “A” and later on you knew that all other Characters inside the Character Pool were actually meaningless, which caused you eventually skipped reading the rest of the Characters.  To make the finding clearer, it means that if someone doesn’t clearly define the question, or doesn’t know what he/ she is going to find, he/ she will regard all the information in front of he/ she as “Irrelevant” or “Unimportant”.

This may due to the usual practice of our education system that it always teaches us how to “answer” instead of “structuring a question”.  It will be meaningless of the number 823223 if I don’t tell you this is the password of my ATM card.  You can see that “defining a question” is as important as “finding an answer of the question”.

3.  People do not know how many he/she needs to find.  In the 3rd game, if people only find out the 1st answer and stop reading the rest of the Characters inside the Pool, that means he/ she is misled by the previous information given in the 1st and 2nd game, driving him/her to make an Assumption that there is only a single answer.  As human being learns from experience, human will be prone to deduce “a way” or a theory for him/ her to apply in the same situation (of course the word “same” is defined by himself/ herself and not definitely the truth).  Whether this Assumption is close to the fact or not, it will make his/ her finally doing the task correctly or incorrectly.   

4.  People don’t know himself/ herself don’t know.  In the 3rd game, to be precise, the instruction required the player to find “2ljs34a”, while by definition there is no “2ljs34a” inside the Character Pool because there are only two “2ljs34a” inside, i.e. one is Bold while another is not.  Again, our experience make us assuming that the information, we call the typesetting information as  Metadata, is irrelevant to the question.

Conclusion

It is nothing wrong with not reading every single word if you think the Article is “Irrelevant” or “Unimportant”.  But it is the arts more than science on how to define the Article you read as “Relevant” or “Important” only after you defined the Article as “Relevant” or “Important”, which will drive you to read the Article more seriously. 

To be frank, there is no equation or sliver bullet on how to solve this problem.  Although it is almost impossible to address the importance of every single article before you are requested to read, we will try our best to help you identify what is an “Important” and “Relevant” Article for you.

As an author, if you want to drive your audience to label your writing as “Important” before telling them, you can raise out the question or address how severe the problem can be, or what the consequence is if your audience don’t handle the problem properly.  Your audience will “listen” to you only if you can make them imagine the consequence of not reading your Article.  Yes, it takes extra time and work load to write.  Communication cost is expensive that we can never deny.

Meanings of the Article are not 100% understood

Working in a fast-paced industry like Digital Marketing, we can almost guarantee that no one can understand all the Articles they are going to read.  Therefore, how we choose when we encounter an Article that we don’t understand will significantly affect the degree of our success.

We will enumerate the reasons of not understanding an Article, and also the solutions accordingly.

We don’t understand a specific Keyword

It’s obvious that we cannot understand an article if we cannot figure out all meanings of the keywords within the article.  However, you will find a lots of people trying to skip the keywords they don’t understand.  The reasons are as below:

1.  They may not define the “Keyword” as “Keyword”, which makes they think that “Keyword” is “Irrelevant” or “Unimportant”.

Think about the sentence “Please help me to contact the client”.  It seems a very common instruction which no one will even think how complicated it is.  To successfully execute this instruction, we have to know How to Contact (i.e. Whatsapp | Email | Phone Call) and Whom to Contact (normally “Client” may refer to a Company, while we can only contact a “Staff in a Company” and not the “Company” itself).  Moreover, the instruction itself does not cover the meaning of What to Contact (i.e. what is the objective | what is the reason | what to say). 

You can see that lots of hidden meanings are derived from the “Keywords” (i.e. “Contact” and “Client” in this example), these Keywords are too common which may not be easily addressed.  If we regard the Keywords as “Unimportant” or “Irrelevant”, we will miss these hidden informations as we even don’t think of digging deeper into the hidden meaning.

2.  They may have no time to search the meaning of the “Keyword” in Google.

I think all we have the same experience – when we googled for the meaning of a specific keyword, say the definition of System, it will derive few more Keywords that we don’t understand, which makes the situation more complicated.  In the example of the keyword System, you can find the definition in Google below:

A set of things working together as parts of a Mechanism or an interconnecting network; a complex whole.

And you may (or may not) address a new keyword Mechanism that you don’t understand, and then you google it again, and derive another keyword that you don’t understand, making you falling into an endless loop.

This situation can always be found when you are learning a knowledge domain that is totally new for you.  As it is almost an infinite number of levels that you have to learn, it will burn out all your time if you keep digging.

Now you face a dilemma between “Horizontal Learning” or “Vertical Learning” – you shape the whole picture (Horizontal) before you dig into details, or you figure out the meaning of every single keyword (Vertical) before you back to the whole picture (i.e. Horizontally). 

Learning is a T-Shape hybrid of both “Horizontal Learning” or “Vertical Learning” (imagine one horizontal component and one vertical component of writing the character “T” ) which have no definite answer on the sequence of the learning.  This is the reason why we need a syllabus in a course – it helps you to define the scope and the sequence of learning.

There is nothing about right or wrong.  As long as you can understand the Article, it is right.  However, from my experience, I think an Iteration Learning Approach is a good choice you can think of. (i.e. Horizontal > Vertical  > Horizontal > Vertical….) . 

Meanwhile, we have to avoid becoming a perfectionist which will make you dig endlessly and eventually burn out all your time, energy and resources.  In this case, we have to figure out if the task you received is Time-Oriented or Quality-Oriented before we continue the reading.

3.  They don’t know they don’t know.

We learned how to answer a question in our school life, while to be outstanding from peers we should learn how to raise a question.  See the example below:

Open the Window please.

What is the first action that you might think of?  Are you thinking of the Window in your room?  Or a New Window in your browser?  Or the Microsoft Window in your laptop?

This kind of keywords is what we called Ambiguous Keyword – which has more than one meaning and we need to decide the meaning based on the context of the paragraph.  

The point is, you don’t know what you don’t know.  What if you don’t even realise that there are more than one meaning in that Keyword?  How can I raise a question if I don’t even know there is a problem?

Unfortunately, the only way for us to learn is from error or past experience, or always try to put a Keyword in Google Search to see what will come out if you have enough time.

In the aspect of management, to tackle this problem, this is the teacher | manager who has part of the responsibility to address the Ambiguous Keyword which always misleads people.

Besides, we will always use Typesetting  (e.g. Bold | Underline | Different Font Type ) inside the Article in order to highlight the Keyword that need to pay more attention on.

4.  They think they know but in fact they don’t.

This phenomenon can always be found in the Relative Concept.  For example the meaning of the wording “Happy” | “Hard Working” | “Easy” varies from one person to another.  Therefore, the communication discrepancy will occur as what you understood (from reading the article) is not same as the meaning of what the author intended to express.

To tackle this phenomenon, always do as much as you can to quantify a Relative Concept.  For example, we all have experience that our parents requested us to “Work Harder”.  Our usual response is we have been working very hard already.  The point is the meaning of the word “Harder” or “Very Hard” has different definition from the prospective of our parents and ourselves.  That’s the reason why “you think you know but in fact you don’t”.

In this case, if you want to express you are a hard working person, don’t simply tell you are “hard working”.  Instead, try to quantify your “hard working” by saying “My working hours are doubled compared with my friends”.  Here “Double” is the quantifier which can embody the concept to an executable level, which in turn makes other easier to understand the degree (or “how strong”, or “magnitude”) of the wording.

4.  They simply skip reading.

Think of yourself.  When you are reading this Article, I guess you have paid a lots of attention – only on the very first few paragraphs.  When you continue your reading, you find your focus is blurring and you start forgetting what is the objective of this Article.  This mean you simply get lost in the paragraphs.  You started not to interpret every single words, instead, your brain are now combining all “Wordings” you can see in the Article to become a “Picture of Wordings”.  Think of the examples below:

1st Example 

impossible

2nd Example  

IMPOSSIBLE

3rd Example 

IMpossible

4th Example 

iMPosSiblE

Which example do you think you can interpret the meaning of the word faster?  Is it the 1st example? 

You can clearly feel that when you are reading you do not only interpret the “logical aspect” of the word, but also the “graphical aspect” of the word.  That’s what we called “Digital” and “Analogue“.

When you keep reading and your degree of focus become lower and lower.  You start to interpret the words inside the Article as “Graphical” and not “Logical“.  In this stage, you are already not “reading” anymore (you are simply “watching”).

This is how human being behave and we can only accept.  To tackle this phenomenon, we can try to break down the paragraphs to smaller pieces in order to avoid the audience from making their eyes overloaded in the sea of information. 

Besides, as an author, try not to write too many words in one paragraph, or try to break a long paragraph into different pieces, or you can do more Typesettings in order to let the audience interpret correct meanings of the words by their eyes and brains easier.  

Conclusion

We both need to accept that Reading is not an easy task as human being is not designed to input the knowledge in this way.  Only after we address this problem will make us try hard to train and improve.  Next time when you think the reading is not easy, bear in mind that you are not alone.

Unfortunately we cannot escape from practising how to read due to the fact that Reading is the most important way of input.  I think you have heard about the sayings “Garbage in Garbage out“.  If we only have 80% of the input, we cannot expect a 100% output.  And you can foresee the degree of our success highly depends on the degree of our input.

There is no one who can read once the Article from a new knowledge domain and understand all the meaning.  Why experts are experts – they spent a lots of time on digging | interpreting | defining every single word they read.  1% Talent  99% Sweat.

So it is a matter of Attitude, not Ability.  The Reading Ability comes after the Reading Attitude

Let’s practise together!