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How to Be Clear When Teaching a Task –English Speech Communication

Be Clear When Teaching a Task


Recall the last time you assigned a person to complete a task for you at work or in daily life –family or friend?

Tips for being clear in that circumstance:

  1. Set the climate.

Use a place conducive for listening.–specially level of background noise

Get a time when your colleague or helper is free to pay attention.

  1. Give the big picture.

Describe the overall objectives because people need to see where their part fits into the whole.  Then they feel they are part of the bigger, more important goal.

  1. Describe the steps of the task.

That’s the critical part of the task teaching.  If the task is already printed in an instruction manual, you still need to go over these steps to assure yourself that the colleague or helper is familiar with the steps.

But if the steps are not written, have the person write the list as you are discussing the steps.   That increases the likelihood that the colleague or helper will remember all the steps.

  1. Describe the resources.

Point out other references on the task— perhaps a manual or a You Tube video, if there are any.

Including refering to people who have worked on this task before.

  1. Invite questions.

Often there’s the feeling we don’t have time to answer questions.  Better to give extra explanation than be unhappy with the results.  Do open-ended questions, such as “What questions do you have?”   Avoid saying “You don’t have any questions, do you?”  The open-ended question invites responses.

  1. Get the person to summarize his or her strategy for accomplishing the task.

That assures you and the other person that the steps for the task are well understood.

You could use this sentence: “Call me compulsive – I need you to summarize how you will get this done.”   You are taking responsibility and thus reduce the defensiveness in the other person.

  1. Agree on a date to follow-up.

Follow-up date depends on how complex and the value of the task.  For complex and/or very important tasks, an earlier date for initial follow-up works well.

When you speak, ask if you are being clear by saying, “Are you following me?”

That can remind the other person to listen more carefully.  If the point you are making is critical, ask the other person to repeat the information back, just to be sure you are communicating effectively.

And, don’t forget to express your appreciation and gratitude that your colleague or helper is assisting you. Smile!

Be sure to watch our English Speech Tips videos and Accent Reduction Tip videos  for more English pronunciation and accent reduction exercise.

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