The Importance of Giving Clear and Concise Instructions

Giving InstructionsEveryday of our lives, we encounter instructions or directions that we are supposed to follow. We are being taught about the importance of following specific directions and if we are not stupid enough, we tend to follow instructions most of the time. However, what “instruction-givers” don’t realize sometimes is that they should be able to also give clear and concise directions (i.e. teachers who give examinations).

Giving clear instructions are very essential, especially, if the ones who are to follow these are taking important examinations, tests, applying for a job, etc. If these directions are too vague or hardly understandable, the persons being instructed tend to do the wrong process that they result to failing that exam or job interview. It is very frustrating for the receivers of the commands if they fail due to misunderstanding so one must first think of the clearness, understandability and simplicity of directions before giving it out to the people.

There was a time when a teacher in a private school gave a test on a chapter in the book to the class. Her instructions were to arrange the choices from the greatest priority to the least according to what we think or believe in. Clearly, she stated a direction that requires the students’ personal opinion. However, the students understanding of her instructions were wrong. It turned out that she wanted the students to arranged the choices according to what is stated in the book’s chapter. Everybody in class complained during checking time about being confused with the directions that she gave and she didn’t give any considerations in return. This resulted to the low scores that each student got. Isn’t that frustrating?

Now, so as not to give unclear directions, here are some tips to giving simple yet comprehensive instructions:

1. Think about what kind of people you are giving out instructions to.

  • Remember, people who you hand out directions to are not always the same. If you are giving these to students, make sure that these instructions are simple and clear and are related to the topic. If you are giving these to a bunch of professionals, make sure that these are polite, straight to the point and pretty “professional”.

2. Be specific, be precise.

  • One of the most crucial aspects to giving instructions is being able to say exactly what it is that you want. A simple way to be specific and precise in what you want is to write it out. Only when you have got it just right should you call the employee/student to give out the task. If you cannot articulate what you want yourself, how are you going to explain it to someone else?

3. Of course, making sure that there’s a good communication when instructions are given is really the responsibility of both parties.

  • When both parties are acting in good faith, there’s a good chance that a clear understanding can be developed about the details of an assignment. But, there is no doubt that confused communications lead to decreased employee/student morale, while good communications are likely to increase it. So, a small amount of effort here is likely to have a big impact on employee/student morale!

I hope that these simple tips have been helpful to you and that you could apply these to real life to avoid conflicts between you and the employees/students.

Have a great day and give clear instructions!


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