Procedures That Get Read (Part 1)

In previous posts, I have discussed that operating procedures must be formatted and developed in a way that lets them achieve their mission. In my reckoning over the years, the principal — in fact, only — reason for a procedure to exist is to facilitate learning proper job performance.

Whether your procedure development is designed for training or for some other intent, the procedure will only achieve its purpose if it is read. To that end, I will devote the next several chapters of my blog to developing procedures that, for lack of a better word, are attractive. That is, their look invites the learner (or teacher) to read through the procedure.

The state of standard word processing software (Microsoft Word) is such that adding elements beyond words is so easy even a fifty-something writer such as I can make a dazzling procedure, newsletter, Christmas card, etc., and have it actually look (somewhat) professional.

In this series, we will discuss the manner in which procedures can be enhanced by:

  • color type
  • photographs
  • graphics
  • other objects

This discussion will not focus on the mechanics of the software (I won’t discuss how to format a text box to hug the left edge of the page and have the words wrap around to the right). It will focus on how enhancements can be used most effectively, and how to avoid pitfalls through misuse or overuse of the devices described above. As such, this discussion should also be useful to those who have moved beyond Word and are using one or more of the “authoring” software packages available. I am very much a novice with authoring, but look forward to learning more and mastering the tools because they promise amazing flexibility.

In Part 2, we will discuss the use of color.

About Tim James "Mr. Procedure"

A communicator; all-purpose capability in writing, designing and presenting training for all facets of organizational function. While my focus has been manufacturing, my training/development experience includes supervisory and lead person development, audit processes, continuous improvement and Lean, and Quality Management System implementation.
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