Giving Directions in Business

When you think about giving directions, it usually has to do with moving from one place to another. However, there are ways in which we give directions in the work world.

Common Business Verbs

How many can be used for giving directions to an employee?

accept •  add • admit • advise • approve • authorize • avoid • borrow • build • buy • calculate • cancel •
change •  check • choose •  compile •  complain •  complete • confirm • consider • convince • count •  decide • decrease •  deliver • develop • dismiss • dispatch • distribute •  divide •  encourage •  establish • estimate •  exchange •  extend •  fix • fund • improve • increase • inform • install •  invoice •  join •  lend • lengthen •  lower • maintain • measure • mention •  obtain •  order •  organize • owe • own • pack •  participate • pay • plan • present • process • produce • promise • promote • provide • purchase • raise • reach • receive • recruit • reduce • refuse • reject • remind • remove • reply • resign • respond • return • rise • sell • send • separate • shorten • split • structure • succeed •  suggest

Business Communications: Giving Directions

When asking employees to complete a task, it is important to do so in a clear and respectful manner so you don’t have to watch everything they do. Follow these communication tips when giving someone directions:

  • Tell your employee how the task will fit into the larger operation. Be specific.
  • Let the employee know when you need the project finished and any details.
  • Avoid being negative, demanding, or stern. Ask with respect.
  • Ask the employee if they have any questions or if they need clarification.
  • Thank them and offer feedback.
  • Make sure the “negative” feedback is clear.

“Jack, we have a Board of Directors meeting tomorrow. They want to know how the latest marketing effort is progressing. Can you please compile the social media insights for the past month by the end of today?”
“Do you have any questions?”
“Yes….do you want it on a Power Point or will a spreadsheet work?”
“Let’s start with the spreadsheet and go from there.”

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Receiving Directions

Receiving directions at work can be similar to getting them on the street when you are lost! Here are some tips:

  • Give the person asking your full attention.
  • If you do not understand, ask the person to slow down and repeat.
  • Say the directions back to the person. It will help you remember them.
  • Take notes while the person is talking-if it is a complicated task.
  • Ask clarifying questions.


Direction Idioms

Step in the Right Direction

An action that is expected to bring good results or one that advances a course of action.
“Studying is a step in the right direction.”

Go in Circles

To be very active but not achieve anything.
“This argument is not going anywhere. We’re just going in circles.”

Do an About Face

To change one’s position completely.
“I thought you wanted to be a doctor. Studying history is such an about face.”

Grammar Lesson

Present Simple/Present Continuous

Present simple is used to talk about permanent facts, habits and routines, general situations. It can also be used for schedules. For time expressions use frequency adverbs.

She lives in the U.K. (permanent)

We accept your insurance (general)

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He bikes to work daily. (routine)

The commuter bus leaves at 5:30 pm. (schedule)

Present perfect is used to talk about:

Temporary actions and situations that are happening now, events in progress, a particular situation. It can also be used to describe a fixed future arrangement. Use time expressions now, at the moment, nowadays, currently, these days, right now.

She is living in the U.K. (for now)

We are accepting new patients. (in progress)

He has been biking to work these days to save on gas. (temporary situation)

We are getting a second commuter bus next year. (fixed, future)

Grammar Lesson: State Verb

When a verb describes a state and not an action we do not use the continuous tense.
Hate is a state verb and so we should say “I hate it.”

State verbs generally fall into four groups:

Emotion: love, hate, want, need
Possession: have, own, want, belong
Sense: see, hear, smell, seem
Thought: know, believe, remember

Some words can be state verbs and action verbs. The meaning of these verbs is then different. Take a look at these:

“I have a job.” – state verb showing possession
“I am having a break.” – action verb which, in this case, means taking.
“I think you are funny.” – state verb meaning in my opinion.
“I am thinking about buying a tablet.” – action verb meaning considering.

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January 2020
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