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Want to Really Understand Something? Write the Manual.

Want to Really Understand Something? Write the Manual.

You think you know about something. Uh huh. Can you explain it to someone else? So they know exactly how to do it, too?

Even if they don’t know a thing about it? Without you over their shoulder? No phone calls, texts, or help? Try it, it’s harder than you might think.

I know my WordPress. I’m busy putting together a VERY complete course on my favorite theme, WOO Themes Canvas. I thought I knew it pretty well. Wow, I have learned a TON. But even a simple TV. OK, TVs aren’t always so simple (cable, input, Apple TV, audio, etc.). People were staying at our house and I needed to explain how things worked. I found myself practically writing an addendum and a glossary. “Input 3, which says ‘Game’ but it’s really the Apple TV, won’t show anything on the screen if the Apple TV isn’t turned on. For the Apple TV, you have to point the remote at the little black box under and to the right of the TV.” It was more a lesson in exceptions than rules.

Bonus: You’ll find out if you’re a good writer if someone else can figure it out. Double bonus: maybe you’re even a teacher.

For the heater, I ended up making a video of me walking through the different scenarios of how the heater works–and doesn’t work.

What do you need to explain, teach, or just get someone else to grasp?

Is it your product? Your TV remote control on your Air BnB? Quantum physics? Tasks small, tasks tall, they all take some thought. If you don’t think so, try to explain something to your spouse about something that she says she never understands (ahem, see previous note about TV). See if she can manage. If she can’t, remember, it’s not her fault. It’s yours. You wrote the manual.

The video on how to work the so-called-automated sprinkler system is sure to become a YouTube sensation.

Can you write a manual so someone else understands?

Can you write a manual so someone else understands?

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