No wonder I'm impatient!

By
Services for Real Estate Pros with Marte Cliff Copywriting

You know how blog post comments make you think…

This morning Faye Schubert left a comment on one of my posts that made me curious. She reading by the poolsaid she’d been noticing read time given in conjunction with article titles. I’ve noticed that too.

Her comment got me started wondering how many words per minute the average person reads. How do they decide that it will take 3 minutes to read an article?

Of course I had to go see what I could learn.

It turns out that the average business person reads 200 to 250 words per minute.

That led me to wonder how fast people speak, and I found the reason why I don’t have the patience to listen to video or audio presentations.

  • A professional speaker uses 110 to 150 words per minute.
  • I did an online reading test and found that I read at 285 words per minute.

When you combine those two facts with the fact that most on line speakers spend far too much time repeating themselves and telling you why you should be listening to them, and the fact that I tend to skim, it’s no wonder I’m listening and thinking “Get on with it!” I’m much happier and more likely to get to the end of the message when there’s a text option.

I also learned that people skim at three to four times their normal reading speed.

It’s true that reading comprehension drops when we skim, but unless we’re reading something we need to learn, so what? When we skim, we can stop and slow down on those points that grab our interest. Meanwhile, we can avoid spending time on fluff and filler.

More interesting tidbits from my morning’s research:

We process 125–250 words per minute as they are being communicated to us. But when we think, we form thoughts at 1000–3000 words per minute. No wonder we don’t hear all that is said to us – we’re too busy thinking at warp speed!

More shocking to me: The average American college graduate only reads 5 books in his/her post-college lifetime.

I read about 5 books per week. (I know, that’s excessive, but I seldom look at the TV and I keep a book handy to read any time that I’m stuck waiting.)

Meanwhile, publishers are churning out 500 000 new titles each year in the English language alone.

What I didn’t find (darn it all!) was how people’s reading speed differed between reading dense “wall of words” text compared to reading text that is broken up with paragraph breaks, headers, and bullet points.

I’d be willing to bet there’s a difference.

 

 

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Rainmaker
2,444,302
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

another comrade that reads 5 books plus here and there a week...

Jul 20, 2019 12:09 PM #16
Rainmaker
1,529,928
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Good to know, Richie Alan Naggar!

Jul 20, 2019 12:27 PM #17
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3,274,779
Debe Maxwell, CRS
www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods

I can save you the trouble searching about the wall-of-words data, Marte! 

People don't read them! Seriously, they move on when faced with colored text and the wall of words. I have heard this time and time again.

Love your post too - you know, I'm shocked at the stat but, when my son and I visit the bookstore, we seldom see others his age. I hate that the love of reading is losing popularity among the younger generations.

I do know that there are some of the younger generation who prefer audio books. I'm okay with that but, there's something about the smell of a good book, the feeling of a book in your hand, turning the pages...it's just not the same, is it?!

Jul 20, 2019 01:47 PM #18
Rainmaker
870,553
Elyse Berman, PA
Best Connections Realty, Inc. - Boca Raton, FL
Boca Raton FL (561) 716-7824 CRS, ABR, GRI,ePR

Marte Cliff It drives me crazy when people write a wall of words.  Too hard to read.  Who can follow it without getting lost, or who has the patience.  Not me!

Jul 20, 2019 01:58 PM #19
Rainmaker
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Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Debe Maxwell, CRS Well... someone is always studying something. I thought they might have done a test reading. Maybe take 10 people who all have the same reading speed, then have half read the wall of words and the other read text with spacing. If they did, I can't find it.

I don't make it to town much lately, so do read a lot of digital books. Our little library here in Priest River is tied into a system where we can access many thousands of them.

I know kids don't read as much, but some still do. It makes me feel good when I visit the library to see moms and kids picking out books together.

I do prefer a real book. I have fond memories of going to the library in Spokane when I was in grade school. The hush, the polished floors, the smell of polished woodwork, and the smell of books - it was all quite wonderful. Unfortunately, that beautiful old librry is now an office building.

Jul 20, 2019 02:30 PM #20
Rainmaker
1,529,928
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Elyse Berman, PA Not me either. But my nagging often falls on deaf ears.

It bothers me when I write a good bio for an agent, then check their site later to find that they removed the spacing between paragraphs when they posted it.

Jul 20, 2019 02:32 PM #21
Ambassador
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Debe Maxwell, CRS
www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods

I wonder if it's a childhood thing for me too, Marte? I would swear that the smell of books lowers my blood pressure and heart rate significantly! There are very few smells that have that impact on me - the salty sea air is another one!

Happy Saturday...

Jul 20, 2019 02:44 PM #22
Rainmaker
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Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Debe Maxwell, CRS I never thought about it in that context, only that I like it and it brings back good memories. I've never spent much time near sea air, but the smell of Priest Lake and of Cedar-lined cabins that have been near that water for years does affect me. So does the smell of new-mown hay.

Jul 20, 2019 03:45 PM #23
Rainmaker
976,885
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Marte - I love your research.  As an instructor I've always found that I can keep people's attention when I speak faster.  I think impatience sets in during a 3 hour CE class when I"m teaching.  Now I know why!  Great post!

Jul 20, 2019 04:26 PM #24
Rainmaker
1,529,928
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Jan Green Yes, speak faster, get to the point, and speak loudly enough for people in the back to hear. I've been to some CE classes when I sat in the back and had no idea what the instructor was mumbling about up front. It didn't matter - as far as I could tell she was mostly conversing with friends in the front row, but... she was wasting my time.

On the other hand - I've been on the phone with people who talk TOO fast. Usually if I can't figure out what the heck they're saying, it's a woman with an Asian accent. They get annoyed when I ask them to slow down and repeat themselves, but otherwise I wouldn't know what they said.

 

Jul 20, 2019 05:07 PM #25
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Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Marte, We may be related.  The only time I want video is for entertainment purposes, or showing me a how to fix something.  I don't read as many books as I used to, but still tear through Smithsonian magazine every month because it's easier to fit into my schedule.  Bill

Jul 20, 2019 05:44 PM #26
Rainmaker
1,529,928
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Liz and Bill Spear Your schedule is much more demanding than mine. I really don't know how you fit it all in.

I appreciate "how-to" videos. However - The last time I watched one it misled me - I was trying to figure out how to change a burned out running light on our car. The instructions and our car didn't match... frustrating, after we removed about a dozen screws and still couldn't access the bulb. The light is still burned out.

Jul 20, 2019 07:11 PM #27
Rainmaker
3,795,055
Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR
Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate

Good morning Marte Cliff ,

Loved this post and all your research. I love to read and always have a book going on my kindle. I really like to read a real book but find it's so much easier carrying my kindle with me if I have some down time. Wall of words and colored text just don't do it for me and many other. Can't hold my interest.

Jul 21, 2019 06:39 AM #28
Rainmaker
1,529,928
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Liz and Bill Spear I'm glad your research pointed the dealership in the right direction!

Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR Like you, I prefer a real book, but keep my tablet loaded because it fits easily in my purse or pocket and can go where I go. I come by this honestly - Mom told me her Grandma used to sit churning butter with the churn handle in one hand and a book in the other.

Jul 21, 2019 10:24 AM #29
Rainmaker
385,148
Marney Kirk
Cummings & Co. Realtors - Towson, MD
Towson, Maryland Real Estate

That is really interesting, Marte! No wonder I have trouble watching videos on blog posts, etc. They drive me crazy (and I mute my computer.) I would rather read something than listen to someone drone on. Now I realize that could be because they are speaking too slowly for me!

Jul 22, 2019 06:48 AM #30
Rainmaker
1,529,928
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Marney Kirk I would too. I'm always glad when they offer a text version - which isn't often!

Jul 22, 2019 07:49 AM #31
Rainmaker
1,526,116
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg IL Real Estate

Just from what you noticed: I can't believe that video is more popular than reading, I can't wait for them to get to the point like you.

People just don't want to read anything.  No books obviously, most consider reading an effort like arm curls. 

There is an advert on my phone that does a speed reading that I often see for selling an app. I never took the test to see what I read at.

Jul 24, 2019 05:58 PM #32
Rainmaker
1,529,928
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Lyn Sims I found a couple of sites that offer speed reading instruction. As part of their advertising, they offer speed and comprehension tests. I find that my comprehension is just fine EXCEPT for the part about remembering names. For some reason, unless I'm really interested in remembering who said what, I tend to slide right over the names.

I was pleased to see how many people hre commented that they read just as much as I do. For me, the trait is inherited. My Mom, Grandmother, and Great grandparents all were avid readers. Now my husband and sons have joined in, and it sounds as if my granddaughter will follow suit.

Jul 25, 2019 09:55 AM #33
Rainmaker
1,526,116
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg IL Real Estate

Marte Cliff  I think that if a person is surrounded by readers they become one. Problem is now instead of a book they pick up that Ipad or phone.

I also cannot remember names for anything ....

Jul 25, 2019 10:19 AM #34
Rainmaker
1,529,928
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Lyn Sims I agree. I read to my boys from the time they were babies until they were far past old enough to read to themselves. It was part of our ritual.

Now - my firstborn is a bit of an addict. He can be in the middle of a conversation, see something that catches his eye, and get lost reading.

Jul 25, 2019 10:53 AM #35
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