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A technical writing professor used the following exercise to show us how
hard it is to give intructions. In one of the first classes of the
semester, she paired us up, and gave each of us a small piece of paper
with an drawing on it. Then, without showing the drawing to our partner
or making any gestures, we had to tell them how to draw it on their own.
The whole time, the one giving the instructions was not allowed to look
over to what the one receiving the instructions was doing. As you can
imagine, even the best teams got the drawing slightly wrong, sometimes
ending up with the shape upside down or something. It really illustrated
the importance (and challenge) of writing clear instructions.
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