6 Tips To Write Efficient SOPs



Squeeze the Most Out of Your Sops Documentation Using Our Success Proofed Writing Tips:

Effective work instructions should not be taken for granted. They keep your business running smoothly and your workers productive. You need to follow certain rules to keep your procedure quick and easy-to-follow.

Long sentences take too much time to read and  comprehend. So keep it short and to the point. Narrow it  down to the information needed to perform the next step. It’s simpler for the audience if there is less information. And  time for each step will be reduced. Not only that, but error  rates are reduced, too. If fewer options are given, there are  fewer chances for mistakes.  Finally, eliminate user error by eliminating decision-making.  Tell the user in a few specific words what to do instead of  asking for a decision.

This might be cliché, but sometimes a picture says more  than a thousand words. Voice-based instructions can be a  good guide, but visuals and pictures can improve the  accuracy of your instructions. A combination of speech and  visuals is actually highly effective for understanding the full  scope of the task. To create photos for your SOP, follow the procedure and take  a photo or screenshot at each step of the process. The perfect photo will include where and how: where in  the process you are and how the task is executed.

Never use passive language to write a step in instructions.  Instead, use active tense for your sentences.

DO THIS: Put the egg in the pan.”

NOT THIS: The egg needs to be put in the pan.

Passive voice just uses more words than needed. Active  voice abbreviates your sentence to emphasize the  information. It gets to the point of the instruction easier.  So always use the action verb (i.e., the verb that indicates  exactly what needs to be done).

DO THIS: Pour salt into the pan.

NOT THIS: Use your hand to pour salt into the pan.

When writing instructions, be consistent. Use a style guide  and set of rules when writing each step. Keep your photos  consistent and cohesive. Less energy is needed to read your SOP when each step  follows a similar structure to your other instructions.  Consistency in format lets a reader easily scan each step.  The audience will know what to expect and can handle the  information more easily.

If you want your SOPs to be effective, make sure the reader  does something in each step. Just giving information or hinting at something, without  providing a specific task or action, will only slow the reader  down which makes your instructions much less effective.  With each instruction that contains a specific task, your  procedure can be executed quicker as the reader stays  motivated with each win.

Once you have finally created your SOP, there’s one last  thing to do: Test your procedure to see how easy the  experience is.

Ask yourself:

 Is the information cohesive?

 Is the information sufficient?

 Is the information accurate?

Read your instructions from the perspective of a first-time  reader that has no knowledge of the process. Does  everything make sense? Only after you have fully read and  experienced your instructions without bias will you be able  to determine how effective they are.

Learn more about SOPs