How to Write Instructions that Work!

Remember the last time you started to install, or assemble, or repair something, following the appropriate set of manufacturer’s instructions – only to find that, while they included steps 2, 5, 6-8, 10, and 12 – they had forgotten to include steps 1, 3-4, 9, and 11?

How did you feel about the person who wrote those instructions and what about the company the instructions came from?

The instructions you and I write on the job are usually somewhat simpler, and certainly different from the late Christmas Eve “special gift” assembly guidelines described above. But the writing process for creating a clear, effective instruction that allows your reader to get the job done is very similar.

CLICK HERE to finish reading


To receive your Business Writing Trends automatically every week, please subscribe to our newsletter.

We’ll be happy to come to your organization. To discuss a workshop for your people at your location or ours, or a shorter presentation for an upcoming meeting, email us at or give us a call at 503/292-9681. 

Published in: on October 21, 2013 at 11:26 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,

Proofreading Tips, Tactics & Techniques

Get Ready:


1. Start the easy way. Use your spell checker—remember, it will “OK” any word that is correctly spelled, whether or not it’s correctly used

2. Use the grammar checker. Make sure you understand what it’s trying to tell you.

3. Leave some time between inputting the material and proofreading it. Overnight is good. When possible, try to schedule proofreading when you’re fresh, and there are the fewest distractions.


Published in: on December 9, 2009 at 11:16 pm  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , , , ,

Four Terrific Tactics for Improving Comprehension, Part 3

This series of posts will describe four terrific tactics that you can use to improve comprehension.

The four tactics are:

  1. 1. Make “who did what” clear.
  2. 2. Edit for clarity.
  3. 3. Eschew obfuscation!
  4. 4. Use specific words.

This week, I will talk about Tactic #3.

  1. Eschew obfuscation!
Published in: on October 22, 2009 at 6:09 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: