How to describe Processes & Procedures?

10 Aug 2015

Post 1 – Top 2 English Grammar Tips when Describing a Process or a Procedure

The words process and procedure are generally used by all of us almost every day, in our personal and professional conversations. But how many of us know that these two are distinct. Did you know that you cannot use these two words interchangeably?

Let us see how these two terms are different and when to use each of these terms. Also, by the end of this series you will be able to give specific instructions & accurate descriptions of processes which is an intrinsic part of effective communication.

Process: This answers the question of how something is done, used or made. Basically, you explain how something works. You may not want the person to necessarily do it, but to understand it.

TIP 1: Use passive voice for descriptions of processes

Let us see some scenarios wherein you may have to explain a particular process to someone.

Example 1: It could be something as simple as filling a form online. So how would you describe the process to someone who is doing it for the first time?

Firstly, log on to the relevant website. After that ‘contact us’ page will have to be clicked. Then in the miscellaneous section you will have to hit on the forms tab. After the form has appeared on the screen, all the details will have to be entered. Lastly, the submit button will have to be clicked.

Example 2: The next example talks about the process to apply for a leave on the official intranet application. How would you give the description of applying leave to someone who has newly joined the company? Following is the description:

First of all, log on to the intranet page. After that the attendance tab should be clicked. Then, check whether your name appears in the new joinee list will have to be checked. If your name is updated on the list, then the calendar will have to be pulled up and the correct date needs to be selected. Post that the attendance gets auto populated

Now let us look at what Procedures are. We will also consider the above examples to give the instructions:

Procedure: It simply means to give instructions or you tell someone what to do.

Tip 2: Use active voice when giving instructions.

Example 1: Firstly, log on to the relevant website. After that, click on the ‘contact us’page. Then hit on the ‘forms’ tab in the miscellaneous section. After the form appears, fill all the details. Lastly, click on the ‘submit’ button.

Example 2: First of all, log on to the intranet page. After that, click on the attendance tab. Then, check whether your name appears in the new joinee list. If your name appears on the list, then pull up the calendar and enter the correct date. Post that the attendance is auto populated

Did you notice that the instructions were less wordy and simpler in format? Well, in our next post we will give you some tips on how to effectively describe processes & procedures using an important tool in communication

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