I remember being handed my first smartphone years ago– a Blackberry—and staring at it anxiously. I had just started a new job and had no idea how to turn the thing on. Seriously! Here I was, with a rich history of working with people in high-profile companies, and this little piece of plastic in my hand had me second-guessing myself.
Let’s face it: Even the most deft hand can become putty in the face of changing technology. Trying to keep up with it—hardware, software, techniques, tools, social media–is tough enough. Trying to understand and use it correctly when you’re in the midst of a hectic workday can be quite intimidating.
So, let me put your mind at ease with a few helpful tips:
- First—take a deep breath and remember: no one knows it all. No one. Some techs may know more than you, but don’t let that scare you. They’re supposed to know. This is not your area of expertise, so jump to #2.
- Ask and get off the worry treadmill. Most people are uncomfortable asking questions about technology because they hate to admit when they’re confused. But, when you’re afraid to ask, you lack clarity and understanding. Your world becomes a guessing game, and you begin the run on the worry-mill. How tormenting is that? First, you worry people will know that you don’t know. Then, you worry that you’ll never grasp whatever it is. Then, you worry things will go wrong, and you worry that you’ll fail! Enough already! Learn what you need to know. Ask.
- Find someone who doesn’t speak in tongues. When you have the confidence to ask questions, ask them of people who can explain in easy terms. Many people like to dazzle with a lot of geek speak. Some aren’t aware they’re doing it, and many use it as a security blanket to insure they’re needed. Don’t let that fool you or scare you. Find someone who can explain in the simplest terms possible. If they can’t do that, they’re not worth their salt. Communication is all about being understood.
- Know that, as your skills rise, so does your confidence. I’m thinking of that first Blackberry and smiling. Once I learned the basics, I became more comfortable with the device, and started experimenting with less fear. I’m on my 4th phone since then, and have moved to a touch screen. You may think—“yeh, big deal”—but, for me (I thought I would die without that teensy tactile keyboard), it is! Once you’re more grounded in the practical—the hands-on how-to—the fear of the technical subsides.
Copyright 2014 Michelle Kerrigan