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Korrespondenz auf Englisch - Arbeitsanweisungen geben

Schlagwörter: Korrespondenz auf Englisch, Arbeitsanweisungen Englisch, Arbeitsanweisung Englisch, Anweisung auf Englisch, Englisch anweisen

At one time or another, you’ll have to give
someone instructions for doing something.
Your child, a colleague, a friend or
maybe even your boss. The instructions
you give could range anywhere from
describing what you would like to have
done, to specifying a desired behaviour,
to showing someone how to accomplish
something such as changing the display
resolution of a computer monitor.

In English, this can be tricky. Not because
the grammar is complex, but rather
because simple instructions that would
normally be considered innocuous can
sound like insulting commands when they
are not carefully worded and delivered in
the correct way.

Two things are certain:

  1. If the tone of your instructions is
    inappropriate for the situation, the
    results you’re looking for are sure to
    be elusive.

  2. Achieving your goal – or helping someone
    achieve theirs – will be difficult
    if your instructions are not clear. In
    this case you may have to repeat your
    instructions or ask that work be corrected
    or even redone from scratch.

Below are a few guidelines that will help
you deliver effective instructions using the
proper tone.

The grammar behind instructions

The imperative form is used to give orders,
warnings, instructions and advice:
Be quiet!
Take care of that.
Careful …
Listen to me carefully!
Push the button on the lower right corner
of the machine console until the light
blinks green.
Don’t discuss your new ideas before
they’ve agreed to your promotion.

Use sequencing words

Sequencing words are used to make instructions
clear within a process:

First, make sure the appliance is

Second, open the back with a screwdriver.
Then, carefully pull out the two black cables
that lead into the power supply unit …

In most cases, lengthy instructions are
based on a framework of instructions
ordered with sequencing words, with
warnings and advice interspersed. It’s very
important that no instruction, warning
or advice you give within this framework
sounds like an order – not even one! Managing
the tone of delivery of your instructions
is thus paramount.

Before addressing the issue of tone, let’s
review some of the most important rules
for giving instructions. They will help ensure
that properly worded instructions are
received with maximum effectiveness.

Giving instructions – Basic rules of the road

  1. Before giving any instructions, be
    sure you have the attention of those
    who should be listening.

  2. If you’re unsure if your listeners have
    really understood a specific instruction,
    ask them to repeat it using their
    own words.

  3. Demonstrate or illustrate whenever
    possible. It’s done like this …

  4. Avoid giving extensive lists of instructions.
    People have trouble remembering
    large amounts of information.
    For more complex tasks, break the
    instructions for each part of the job
    down and deliver the instructions
    in smaller sets organised by stage,
    phase or task.

  5. Similarly, avoid boring your listeners
    with prolix descriptions of each task.

  6. Use direct and specific language. Say
    exactly what you mean. Don’t leave
    people guessing.

  7. Avoid moving to the next instruction
    before your listeners have completed
    the previous task. Rushing through
    instructions is a sure way to ensure
    your listeners get lost.

  8. Avoid misunderstandings by asking
    listeners how they’ll approach the
    task and why.

  9. Don’t get sidetracked by problems or
    disagreements. Restate your instructions
    if necessary.

  10. Check back during the initial stages
    of action to gauge the effectiveness
    of your delivery style and the capacity
    of your listeners for following instructions
    correctly – especially if the tasks
    are complex. Give your listeners room
    to do what you expect of them, but be
    available to help when needed.

Finding the right tone

Any warning, instruction or advice you give
using the simple, unadorned imperative
tense is almost certain to sound like an
unwelcome command. In most situations,
commands and orders have no place in
business. This means that when you use
the imperative, it’s important to consider
softening every statement. In addition to
sequencing words – which make it clear
you are not giving orders but rather plain
instructions – here are a few other approaches
for avoiding “command language”:

Use a modal verb to turn the order into a request

Modals are used to change the mood of
a sentence. For example, You should help
her finish the report is more polite than
Help her finish the report!

This technique is not especially useful
for procedural instructions, but it is very
effective for softening single instructions

Shut the door behind you.
Can you shut the door behind you?
Will you shut the door behind you?

Could and would are the more polite forms
of can and will.

Could you shut the door
behind you?

Would you shut the door
behind you?

Use the word please

Adding please to any question or imperative
statement immediately softens its
impact and makes it clear that you wish
to be polite:

Turn the printer off when you’re finished.

Please turn the printer off when you’re

Turn the printer off when you’re finished,

Can /Could /Will /Would you turn
the printer off when you’re finished,

Use an introductory phrase to soften the tone

There are a few very polite-sounding introductory
phrases that are often used to
soften statements that would otherwise
sound like commands. Here are a few of
them (in order of the most indirect to the
most direct):

Introductory phrases

Most indirect

Would you mind possibly … (+ ing )

I was hoping you could …
(+ infinitive without to )

Do you think you could …
(+ infinitive without to )

If you have a couple of
minutes to spare …

I’d like you to …

I want you to …

Most direct


Would you mind possibly moving slightly
to your left? You’re blocking my view of
the presentation.
I was hoping you could spare me a few
minutes this morning.
Do you think you could do this photocopying
for me?
If you have a couple of minutes to spare,
I’d like you to run down to Reception and
pick up a box that’s waiting there for me.
I’d like you to file these documents
for me.
I want you to finish this by

The importance of clarity and directness

Most people believe the directions they give
are already clear and direct. A recording
often demonstrates otherwise. Think about
presentations or training sessions you’ve
attended, or even about cooking classes
or bike-maintenance courses you’ve taken.
Even those purporting to be excellent communicators
often have difficulty getting to
the point without creating confusion.

Of course this sounds ridiculous, but the
fact is that all of us have at one time or
another heard this rambling sort of
protracted instruction-giving. It is characterised
by an excessive use of unnecessary
words, instructions couched as
recommendations and irrelevant side

None of the people who have delivered
such material ever intended to have this
impact. The problem is they didn’t know
what they intended to begin with. They
simply started talking.

Planning what you say

Here are some guidelines for ensuring
your instructions have maximum effectiveness:

  • Create an outline of every instruction
    you need to give

  • For each instruction, write down any
    points you want to make or key words
    you want to use. Do this on paper until
    the process becomes second nature.

  • Keep each instruction short. Edit out
    all complex language, unnecessary
    words and irrelevant information.

  • Make sure your instructions are logically
    ordered. Phrases like, “before you
    do this... “ hint that your instructions
    are not correctly organised. Focus
    instead on sequencing words like first,
    second, next, then and finally. Instructions
    that seem out of order or chaotic
    may also frustrate your listeners.

  • Be sure to include demonstrations,
    pictures, mental images and the like
    as much as possible.

  • Think about how you would respond to
    your instructions. Would you be able
    to remember as much as you expect
    your listeners to remember? If you
    think it might be too much for yourself,
    it’s probably too much for them.

Schlagwörter: Korrespondenz auf Englisch, Arbeitsanweisungen Englisch, Arbeitsanweisung Englisch, Anweisung auf Englisch, Englisch anweisen

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