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In New Zealand workplaces people use a number of different ways to give instructions politely. Many migrants find these instructions confusing.

If you were Mary what would you have done in this situation?


  • Let Lilli redo the report and see what it's like when it comes back. Lilli seems to have understood.

  • Repeated the key points of the instructions or asked Lilli what she's going to do now, just to check. It's unclear whether Lilli has understood what is required.

  • Found someone to help Lilli as she seems a bit tentative.


If you were Mary what would you have done in this situation?


  • Feedback

    It's not a good idea to wait until the report comes back to find out if Lilli has understood. Mary could repeat the key points now or check that Lilli understands by saying, "Can you summarise what I want you to do?"

    This is a good option. Mary could check if Lilli understands or clarify what she wants done. Mary has been indirect in her instructions.

    This is a possibility. Mary could check if Lilli understands first and then offer to get someone to help her if Lilli still seems uncertain about what to do. New Zealanders tend to be quite indirect at times. This can make it difficult for migrants who are used to being given more direct instructions.


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