Step by Step Instruction: How To Write Instructions Like a Pro

Using a step-by-step instruction list can help you empower your employees and customers

Moran Altarac
May 20, 2024
min read

Do you ever get frustrated by people who can't seem to follow instructions? While there are some reasons people can struggle to follow instructions, sometimes it's about making sure that the instructions are clear as well.

If you need to give a step-by-step instruction list, it can be challenging to know where to start.

Writing instructions is an art form requiring attention to detail, a deep understanding of the subject matter, and a creative writing touch. Whether you’re writing instructions for a software program, a website, or even a room in your home, it’s important to present instructions in the clearest way possible.

Do you need to write the best instructions possible for your employees or clients? Keep reading to learn more about how to write the best guides for your users or sign-up to Guidde, since we basically create these step-by-step instructions for you.

How Step-by-Step Instructions Help Your Business

From Independent contractors to Enterprises, businesses have lots of responsibilities and obligations to their customers, and often, one of the most important is providing step-by-step instructions for how to use their product or service. Step-by-step instructions are often overlooked in the business world, but when customers can’t navigate your product, it’s not a good sign.

Step-by-step instructions can be a quick, easy, and inexpensive way to show your customers you care enough to help them use your product.

However, as a business, step-by-step instructions do more than help customers; they also help your employees. When your employees are able to understand and follow your step-by-step instructions, it makes the jobs they do easier and helps them know the best way to accomplish their tasks.

When employees aren’t clear on your step-by-step instructions, they can make mistakes or come to you at the last minute with questions, both of which cost your company time and money.

How to Create a Step-by-Step Instruction List Like a Pro

Before you can create a step-by-step instruction, you need to understand the type of step-by-step instruction you’re writing. There are three main types of step-by-step instructions: a how-to guide, a how-to manual, and a how-to template.

A How-To Guide includes steps for accomplishing a task or using a product. It may include tips and advice, but it does not include any hints or screenshots.

A How-To Manual includes the same steps as a How-To Guide, but it includes hints, tips, and screenshots. It includes a bit more detail than a How-To Guide and gives the person using the product a better chance of completing the task.

A How-To Template is similar to a How-To Manual, but it’s created in a way that allows the person filling in the template to use any words they like and to make a completely customized how-to manual. Once you’ve decided on a style, you’re ready to start creating your step-by-step instruction.

One of the most important parts of creating a step-by-step instruction is making it easy to read. Use short sentences and lots of white space to make it easy to get through the instructions.

It’s also important that your step-by-step instruction is easy to follow. Your reader shouldn’t have to flip back to previous pages to catch up. Use a chronological order when possible and let the user know whether to turn left or right at every turn.

Define the Task

The first part of creating a step-by-step instruction is getting to know your reader. What problem or task is your reader trying to solve? What is it that your reader is trying to accomplish?

The problem or task should be defined in such a way that the readers knows exactly what they’re getting into. If they’re reading the step-by-step instruction guide to learn how to use a new piece of software, you should mention what software you’re using. If you’re writing a step-by-step instruction manual for a piece of exercise equipment, you should mention the name of the exercise equipment.

Basically, you should let people know what’s coming, so they know what to expect. Not only will this make your text more informative, but it will also help create a connection between your reader and the piece of equipment they’re trying to learn how to use.

List the Activities

Once you’ve defined the task and you know what it is that your reader is trying to accomplish, it’s time to list the activities or steps required to complete the task. Most people like to see the big picture first, so start with an overall view of all the things you’re going to be doing.

If you’re creating a step-by-step instruction manual for a piece of exercise equipment, for example, you might want to start with a list of the exercises that you’ll be teaching the reader.

Define Activities and End Results

After you’ve listed the activities, go down to the smallest level and write out each activity as a separate step. Each activity should have a title, and you should identify any tool being used for that activity. You should also let the reader know what the end result should look like when they complete the step.

Order the Steps

Once all the steps are defined, you should go back and order the steps in the most logical order, putting the easiest activity first and the most difficult activity last. If the steps need to be followed in a specific order, ensure that each step is in the correct chronological order.

Find Unique Solutions to Build Your Knowledge Base

Using a step-by-step instruction list can help you empower your employees and customers. However, you need to ensure the instructions are clear and understandable.

Are you looking for unique ways to share information with your audience? Sign up for Guidde today and keep your team in the loop. Guidde does everything we just described, automatically in less than 30 seconds.

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