6 Tips for Writing Effective Instructions
written instructions can cost businesses time, money, and customers. The following guidelines will help you write well-organized,
1. Organize the information
Make sure that the information is in a logical order and flows easily from step to step. Use bullet points
and numbers to mark each step.
2. Be direct
Focus on what the reader must do to complete the activity and on the information you must provide to ensure that
they will be successful. This will help you to only include information that is directly related to the instructions.
3. Do not omit steps
To ensure that instructions are
complete, include every step of the activity along with supporting information such as definitions, standards, explanations,
Having an understanding of your audience will help you determine
how much information to include. For instance, instructions about how to conduct Internet research would be written differently
for people who have never used a computer than for those who have.
4. Be exact
Provide all of the relevant information. For instance, if the instructions call for using specific
tools, measurements, wording, or other items list this information in detail.
Use short sentences because long, wordy sentences can make instructions
6. Take your time
you have written the instructions, take the time to review them. Place yourself in the shoes of the reader and follow
the instructions. It is also helpful to ask someone else to follow your instructions to determine if they are complete.
Testing the instructions will help you identify and eliminate inconsistencies, vague information, or irrelevant information.
Sparks, Suzanne D. 1999. The manager’s guide to business writing. New
York, New York: McGraw Hill.