If you’ve ever had to ask someone for directions on how to get from A to B, you know that people find it hard to give clear and accurate instructions.  When you give people spoken information, remember to:

  • talk to people calmly and with respect
  • use the correct words for work processes
  • make sure people can hear you
  • make sure people understand what you’ve said, especially the jargon.

When you give people instructions, you also need to:

  • break the information into sections or steps
  • explain the steps in order – try using numbers or words like first, next…
  • repeat or demonstrate things if you need to
  • be patient.


Non verbal communication is used to make messages clearer or to add information.  Non verbal communication includes:

  • body language
  • hand signals
  • colour
  • volume, tone and emphasis of voice.

Body language – Body language includes includes frowning, smiling, winking and nodding. Body language can be friendly, aggressive, angry or relaxed.

Hand signals – Hand signals are often used in noisy workplaces instead of talking or to ‘repeat’ what you are saying. Some hand signals are used instead of words. These include the ‘thumbs up’ sign or waving.

Colour – Colours are used to distinguish one thing from another. In meatworks colour coded bins, chutes and tubs are used to distinguish edible and non edible or condemned products and areas. Colours are also used as warning signs – green for go, red for stop and amber or orange for caution.

Voice – The way we use our voice can also add to the meaning of what we are saying.  The tone of voice – angry, snarling or cheerful – shows how we really feel about what we are saying.