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1/ You can’t build a writing culture in a company without a culture that likes to read too. Not skim. Truly read. Maybe intentionally reading slowly to ensure comprehension. Proper reading requires patience in a smartphone addicted world. Things I’ve learned…
2/ Here’s a quick trick to instill a better reading culture with high comprehension: encourage questions about topics occur as comments in a written Google doc vs being done verbally. Then, everyone must read so that their questions get prioritized & answered.
3/ If you want a good company writing culture, it’s critical to give time to folks to read. Usually it’s better at the beginning of the meeting–people rarely read before. Also, early attendees can get a head start w/o waiting on folks that are late. Possibly an advantage too!
4/ Written ideas ahead of a meeting, a 10 min pre-read at the beginning of a mtg, & commenting as people read through a doc have led to far more engaging meetings for me. Ledes are not buried. There’s more time to square the details. Ideas that have consensus are skipped.
5/ Often mtgs that begin w/ writing & a pre-read aren’t just shorter, they’re more in-depth. This is much harder to accomplish in a traditional presentation format wherein participants either can’t interrupt or can’t get the full picture until it’s presented. Less collaboration.
6/ Once people get used to reading & writing a lot, the culture eventually converges towards being memory focused. Stumbled upon some useful research? Write it down for the person who may tackle it. Ambient context begins to grow about all problems & ideas to speed up progress.
7/ If you want a better reading culture, write as concisely as possible to further reward reading. It will benefit your verbal communication of ideas as a by product too.
8/ A sure fire way to fail at building a read culture: expecting everyone to read ahead of time. While a reasonable request, practically someone misses out. This creates steady dysfunction as the penalty is harsh for a possible crucial team member who should be in the know.
9/ The best way to get someone on the team who isn’t very good at reading is to get them to be someone who gets to write down ideas at first. Sharing your ideas is fun & gratifying! However, eventually, they must read everyone’s ideas about their ideas via comments.
10/ The nice thing about reading culture is it requires more present, focused, and uninterrupted listening of another person’s ideas. It’s like an audio compressor for people who are near silent & an audio limiter for people who are typically more vocal–an equalizing force.
11/ I hope you had fun *reading* 😉 Fin.
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