Why Instructing is an Important Skill to Have
By Taylor Varco
A job candidate who can follow instructions successfully is valuable in the workplace. However, a candidate who can give instructions successfully possesses an exceptional skill that employers quickly notice in a job interview. Instructing means: teaching or reinforcing information, a process, or operation to others. It’s a top skill used to work with a team to achieve a goal.
Instruction is especially useful in certain professions, such as:
• Craft labor (i.e. welders and electricians)
• Construction Managers
Instruction is such a highly regarded skill because it speaks to a candidate’s ability to clearly communicate information, be an expert on a specific topic, and improve efficiency by helping others learn.
How do you improve your instruction skills? It’s essentially comprised of three key components:
• Interpersonal Communication
• Knowledge of the Subject Matter
As with improving most skills, practice makes perfect. Focusing on developing proficiency in these three areas will improve your instruction skills and lead to greater job opportunities as a valuable candidate.
Improve your public speaking:
When instructing others, you have the opportunity to use your voice to help others learn something new, better understand a topic, and/or answer their questions. Whether this is to one person or a large audience, proficiency in public speaking can greatly help you. Try these tips:
• Practice in front of a mirror
• Practice in the car during long rides
• Practice in front of your smartphone or video camera
• Seek out work opportunities that require presenting or training
• Check out Harvard’s Professional Development tips here
Improve your interpersonal communication:
Improving your interpersonal communication skills means learning to effectively connect and communicate with people around you. This skill will not only help your own career, but help your company become more collaborative and productive. For example, Warehouse Managers must effectively instruct and guide their team members on how to safely operate equipment, process orders and prepare shipments. Try these tips:
• Refine your body language to be more positive and work appropriate:
• Eye contact
• Facing the person or people you’re interacting with
• Good posture
• Use language that conveys your message plainly
Improve your subject matter expertise:
Before instructing others on a topic, you must have a deep understanding of all the in’s and out’s. To increase your knowledge, you should take advantage of every opportunity you have to learn more about your topic. Try these tips:
• Obtain a professional or vocational certificate
• Enroll in workshops, online classes or attend seminars
• Self-study by subscribing to journals and newsletters geared towards your field
• Network within your industry to seek knowledge from well-informed colleagues
• Join a professional organization centered around the topic
Increasing your skill level in these three areas will help you become proficient in speaking, writing, and instructing about your topic and ultimately improving your career for the better.