Saturday, January 31, 2015

You deserve to go broke…

You deserve to go broke…

I am always depressed to see the newspaper article about another long term retail organisation succumbing to high rents and the intrusion of the internet and going broke. The property soon joins our biggest retail chain… FOR LEASE and posts zero sales for the next 18 months until some other hopeful braves the wild world and starts a new venture.

I reckon lots of these retailers DESERVE TO GO BROKE!

I ventured into Perth city this week which is reputed to be more expensive than London for parking and retail rents, and walked past a number of FOR LEASE signs to go to my optometrist of 20 years to make a simple enquiry…
“How much will you charge me for similar multi focal glasses to those I have had for 2 years?”

Before you venture an opinion of what the front desk lady told me consider that this is a fearlessly competitive retail segment with many new players who offer “2 pairs of glasses for $199” and “No Gap” for members of major health funds.” And to put my position clearly, my preferred optometrist isn’t “cheap” and has no cheap price signalling… so I KNEW they would be more than “2 pairs for $199” but expected them to be better priced than last time.

Well this is what I was told:

“Last time you paid $650 and it will be more this time….”

I was incensed… no attempt to match my Private Health cover to my lenses or frames, and show me the after refund cost, no attempt to explain my choices, just “… it will be more this time…”

So I asked “What do I need to do to have my records transferred to a new provider?”
The answer just about floored me: “The records belong to the practice and you can’t have them…”
Well… that was like waving a red flag to a very angry bull… I asked that they send me by email that answer which they did… but further enraged me by saying they would charge me for a summary of my eye health history which wouldn’t be covered by either Medicare or private health insurance.

I also ventured to Perth’s largest city bookshops to buy Amanda Palmers book “The Art of Asking”. And you can imagine what happened…

Boffins… “That was VERY popular at Christmas, it is on order, we will have some in 6 to 8 weeks… should I hold one for you??”

Dymocks… “We are sold out; it is on back order and will be in 6 to 8 weeks. If you give me 50% deposit I will hold one for you…”

Now, I know for a fact that both these retailers have online bookshop divisions where the book is currently available for immediate shipping… was I offered the simple choice of “We don’t have it in stock at this shop but we can have it delivered in 3 to 4 working days from our online store with FREE delivery…”

Gee, I wondered reflectively, would that be so hard??

Side note: I actually picked up a copy in Perth at Planet Books Mount Lawley branch that day. Apparently online book sellers have killed retail books… I beg to differ on that. Retail book sellers have killed themselves.

Back to my optometrist.  I did get my email reply which reaffirmed everything that happened in person so I was compelled to reply that

1. My records are my records and as is my legal right, I wanted them and

2. I was resentful of being treated as a schumk and the three family members previously customers would be seeking a different provider for our eyewear…

The next day, I received a phone call from the owner of the business, who has 5 outlets.

He thanked me for my feedback.

He said of course I could have my eye health records. Then he explained that whilst we had always chosen high value “fashion” frames, as you do, and that they hadn’t changed much in price the last 2 years, cheaper frame options were available, but the manufacture of multi focal lens had progressed greatly and options were available MUCH CHEAPER than 2 years ago. Further he said they were able to match “like for like” offers such as the “2 pairs for $199” if that was what we wanted.

My suggestion was that he should invest in sales training for his front line staff and have them drilled on that story as well. I promised to give the situation another try when I get back from my current 2 weeks seminar tour.

I think the bookshops are doomed… although Planet Books in Mount Lawley is a niche seller, it opens when people are walking the streets of Mount Lawley at night and because of very astute targeting, has recently increased the range of books and consequently increased their floor space… how niche??  I noticed a Star Wars cookbook range… and of course everything about House of Thrones.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

7 Pitfalls to avoid when Learning Speed Reading

7 Pitfalls to avoid when Learning Speed Reading
PowerReading Feb 2015

Pitfall 1 - Buying a Book on Speed Reading

Trying to learn to speed read from a book has these challenges:

1.  Most often the reader is not even an “average” reader, and thus struggles.
2.   Reading something does not mean you understand it.
3.   Reading does not change behavior or performance.
4.   Most people struggle toggling between the book about speed reading, and then trying to apply it in another book.

So you can read a book, but it probably won’t change your performance.

Pitfall 2 - Researching the Web for FREE Information on Speed Reading

Speed Reading draws over 1 million searches per month and there are over 11 million listings in Google.

So, the term, “let the buyer beware” is a useful mantra when looking for free stuff over the web. What is the source? How can they be trusted? What is fact? What is conjecture? How much is simply wrong?

With so much “free” stuff on the web for speed reading, there is no wonder why the topic has become so maligned. Speed reading still draws over 1 million searches per month and 11 million listings in Google.

Pitfall 3 - There must be an app for that!

The mistake with buying a software program or a smartphone app is that all of them focus almost exclusively on the speed of the words on the screen, and do not go into comprehension approaches.

These methods have been proven to be harmful to the eyes as well as ineffectual for changing reading speeds long term. Other problems are that the programs don’t work with all  reading situations.

Some mechanical training is necessary for you master to get your eyes moving more fluidly and efficiently, but the tool must be transportable to all reading environments.

Also with this “Words on Screen Faster” approach is that you to move your eyes through text at 10,000, 20,000, or even 30,000 words per minute, but if you don’t understand it and can not recall anything, is that reading?

Pitfall 4 - Learning JUST the Mechanics of Speed Reading

Reading is the act of seeing visual stimuli, printed letters and word, and deriving meaning from those symbols.

Reading is a visual neural process where the reader’s brain interprets (comprehends) the symbols, and that Reading is a thinking process

All speed reading programs will focus on the mechanics of moving the eyes more fluidly over the print. It is an essential part of creating faster reading. But there is another component.

Comprehension is understanding what you read while you are reading.

Many learners get stuck on the mechanics only. When the learner gets hung up analyzing what the eyes are supposed to be doing, and not what the mind is supposed to be doing, the speed is meaningless.

So warn yourself about stopping your learning too early. If you find a program that teaches comprehension in-depth as well, be sure to study and apply it in a variety of types of reading. The mechanics need to be adjusted to the type of reading material.

Pitfall 5 - Listening to Naysayers

There are 2 different categories of Naysayers - Personal and Professional.

Personal naysayers are the people you know. There are the ones who will give you an opinion on anything, even if their opinion is based on nothing other than their instant judgment that you want to do something different for yourself.

Some of these personal naysayers are quite difficult to spot. They may actually sound like they may even about the subject. It might go something like this, “oh yeah, I researched speed reading online and found some interesting stuff.. From everything I read, it’s nothing but a scam.”

 The second type of naysayer  may be credentialed with a degree or two. They are trained to be analytic, and skeptical. But that same training leads them to a similar conclusion as the personal naysayer. Academicians are quite often biased setting out to prove the negative premise from the beginning.

So, what do you want to believe? Do you believe you can, with proper training, read 2 - 10 times faster with even better comprehension?  As Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can, or whether you think you can’t, you’re right!” Your brain/mind searches for evidence of what it believes. Your belief set will drive your behavior.

Pitfall 6
– Expecting Instant Success

The electronic age has brought on the era of instant everything. There is  instant coffee, instant breakfasts, instant dinners, instant downloads, etc.  Generalizing this to learning to speed read is a sure-fire road to failure.

It has taken you a lifetime to get your brain to function the way it does now. If it is not functioning at peak performance levels, it won’t change overnight.

But you can change your brain. With consistent effort over time, you can achieve much higher levels of performance that will last you a lifetime. Once accomplished, you will also enjoy a much more fulfilling cognitive life.

Learning behaviorists know well that behavior needs to be reinforced and rewarded over time to truly take hold long term. The neuro pathways need continuous building to build stronger lasting networks. Yes, you can “learn” a lot in just 3 hours. But will it take hold?

Pitfall 7 – Believing No Consistent Effort is required

Tacit learning is in the doing. Speed reading needs to be learned tacitly. That means hands on - literally! There are many emerging studies showing that kinesthetic learning, through a multi-sensory approach is hands down the longest lasting and heaviest neural-network builder there is.

Have I mentioned all our programs are quite multi-sensory? Sight, sound, and movement.

All researched methodologies for learning a complex set of skills such as speed reading, show that the best, easiest way is by taking small chunks consistently over time. No matter what skill you want to learn, success comes easier with consistent effort.

No matter what you choose to do, give it consistent effort.