To learn how to give verbal instructions, in terms of communication, preparation is a good part of the instructional exercise. It's easier to plan instructions, read them thoroughly several times and make any changes that are necessary prior to the presentation. Learning how to give verbal instructions is similar to choreography: Instructions must be clear, concise and well-defined. There should be a smooth rhythm and cadence to the way instructions are given. For example, if the instructions are for a large group, it's important to take note of the interpretation that the group may perceive. Other guidelines for how to give verbal instructions are:
- Avoid unclear, ambiguous instructions that can easily be misinterpreted.
- Choose words with the fewest syllables to avoid misconceptions of meaning.
- Speak clearly and intelligibly.
- Maintain focus to remain on instructional track.
- Use a speaking voice that is pleasant but confident.
- Ask for questions before the instructions begin and after they are given.
- Make sure the instructions present a specific goal.
It isn't difficult to give verbal instructions if you keep this idea in mind: Imagine you have an entire floor of dancers who are taking verbal instructions from you. Following preplanned choreography, the destiny of the dancers is in your hands and your instructions beforehand play an enormous role in the quality of their performance. With this in mind, you will insure that each dancer is in their proper place at the precise time as the others. Planning is important when giving verbal instructions. But, so is timing. Ill-timed verbal instructions can result in a collision course rather reflect highest quality instructions. It's in the result that this quality is clearly seen.
If the verbal instructions are for a group of children, reiteration may be necessary to insure their safety and their understanding of the instruction process. Bear in mind that the attention span of children is far shorter than that of most adults. Therefore, a certain percentage of lost information may occur due to shorter attention spans when providing verbal instructions. With children, especially, the tone of voice used by adult giving verbal instructions can often be distracting enough for them to miss entirely the details of the program of instruction. Also, children pick up little nuances of the instructor before them that tends to preoccupy their stream of consciousness and thought patterns. Verbal instructions for children should be streamlined to their particular age levels.