Giving Instructions

Kathy Obear
Amherst, Massachusetts


1. Listed below are the elements of an effective get of instructions:

  1. Tell participants that you will be giving them detailed instructions.
  2. Ask them to wait to begin until you are finished.
  3. Give an overview of the task/activity: purpose; how it relates to other information; what they will get out of participating; etc.
  4. Cover the following details: (put these in writing either on newsprint or on a handout)
  5. Ask for any questions
  6. Divide into groups and direct to work areas

2. Methods for getting participants into different groupings:

  1. find someone with the same:
    1. height
    2. home state / town
    3. color of clothing on (socks, shirt, underwear, etc.)
    4. number of rings on
    5. size right thumb
    6. color of car
    7. number of siblings/birth order
    8. number of children
    9. stress releasing strategy
    10. kind of belly button: an "inny or an outy"
  2. find someone with different
    1. size shoe
    2. hopping foot
    3. color on
    4. occupation
    5. favorite vacation spot
    6. hobbies

3. Helpful hints

  1. Write out all details of instructions and highlight key words: use notes in workshop
  2. Practice giving instructions AND doing the activity before you present
  3. Have someone who doesn't know about the activity read / listen to instructions


Kathy Obear is a diversity trainer and consultant based in Amherst, Massachusetts (413) 283-2503.


Copyright © 1991 Kathy Obear. Permission is granted to copy and use this material for educational and non-profit purposes only. This copyright statement and acknowledgement of authorship should remain intact on materials you copy from this website.