Whether you’re an assistant or an employee who is more technologically knowledgeable than your boss or colleague, you might have found yourself more than a little frustrated when trying to explain technology to them. During this time when most business is done virtually, it’s important to be well-versed in the technology your teams are using (i.e., Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Slack, Email Platforms, etc.). But, trying to get everyone on the same page might be a struggle. Below you’ll find ideas for streamlining the process and avoiding any major bumps along the way.

  1. Tailor & Research
    • I would recommend you do your best to figure out if the person you are teaching learns better with auditory or visual instruction. For example, my boss is very visual and likes to see and do everything in order to understand it. Trying to explain information orally while you aren’t sitting right next to them can add an additional and practically impossible wrinkle. Once you know what you’re looking for, do the necessary research to provide the person with resources. Find an article, a video, and any information that’s needed to run any program. For example, I found the following resources to help my boss (and myself) with Zoom:
  2. Batch Instructional Sessions
    • For some reason that I’m sure a group of scientists could explain to me, it’s difficult to hold attention for a long period of time and attention spans prove to be particularly short when it comes to technical and virtual learning. I know that I can get about 30 minutes of solid teach time with my boss and colleagues. So, I made a list of the processes/platforms that needed to be explained including features in Zoom, our emails, in PowerPoint, etc. and scheduled 30 minute meetings throughout the week to discuss and explain only one of the processes/platforms on the list. Also, picking time blocks when you know your boss or colleague is at their peak performance can be extra helpful. My boss like to do the heavy mental lifting in the morning rather than during the 3pm slump.
  3. Record The Process
    • For those bosses and colleagues who have back-back meetings and can’t even fathom learning this stuff during the day, I suggest filming the process on your phone. Click through the process on your laptop, explain verbally, and then send the video to them. Then, they can review the video on their own time and get things set up at their own pace. I have also used the screen recording feature on my phone to film a set of instructions for how to use Instagram Live. So much easier than trying to troubleshoot in the moment when you can’t see their screen and if they are flustered.
  4. Use Screen Share
    • If recording isn’t your colleague’s cup of tea, try to use the technology to your benefit and share your screen through your video chat platform to guide them through step-by-step instruction. I used this to help explain Calendly and Zoom to a couple of my colleagues and being able to simply share their screen so I could see what they were seeing, was super helpful.
  5. Don’t Avoid The Tough Stuff
    • Although it’s tempting to avoid the stuff that might be time consuming, it’s important to address the complicated technology being used. It may feel like nails on a chalkboard trying to explain how to set up polling in Zoom or how to drag an email to the calendar as a to-do, but they need to know how to do these things in order to maximize their time. They will feel a sense of accomplishment and more in command and if you take the time now to set them up with all the tech they could possibly need, it will pay off in the long-run by saving everyone’s time and energy. I know, I know, but what if they just forget what I teach them? Fair. That’s tough. Hopefully that’s not the case, but if it is try out strategy #6….
  6. Make a List of Short Cuts
    • Creating a 1-pager where the person can pull login information, step-by-step instruction, and any pertinent information from can be a game changer. No more (or at least less) last-minute and panicked texts and no more repeating instructions over and over. Plus, if it’s in an editable document, you can update as you go along.