Embrace your Inner Nerd
“So, there’s going to be a thing in your life that you
love….The way you love that, and the way that
you find other people who love it the way you do
is what makes you a nerd. The defining
characteristic of [being a nerd] is that we love
– Wil Wheaton
In Other Words…
• Find your passion for the technology.
• Didn’t choose it? Don’t like it?
• Find the positives and let yourself get excited about them.
Flipside: Empower Yourself
• If you know something new is
coming, do preliminary research.
• Identify what may be an issue for you.
• Skill build: practice basic technical
skills regularly. Typing proficiency,
Office Suite, using images in
Create Realistic Competencies
The Critical Importance of Hands On
• Lectures are the perfect format for the abstract.
• Technology is concrete.
• If your documentation is sufficient, trainees will need
• Limited access to the product can encourage trainers
to do lecture style classes.
– You must then supplement with one on one hands on
• Yes, even if it seems like it should be easy and simple.
Find the Fun
• Appeal to pre-existing interests and areas of increased ease.
• Use humor where appropriate.
• Be honest about limitations and work together to find
i.e. The Space After Paragraph
button in Word 2007 and later.
Acknowledging the flaw and
giving people the power to fix
• Food is motivating!
• Buy a lot, give a lot.
• Appeal to competitive
• Create completion
certificates or prizes as
• Find small, but useful
Why Aren’t They Getting it?
• Everyone learns at a different pace and from different
kinds of instruction.
• If a group of people just aren’t getting it, examine first
the product, then the trainer and lastly, the trainees.
• But I tested the product!
– “The design of everyday things is in great danger of
becoming the design of superfluous, overloaded,
— Donald A. Norman, The Design of Everyday Things
Not all technology has a user-centric design. What
seems obvious to the designer is confusing to the end
This is when a good manual becomes critical. Let it be the equipment that helps your
staff scale the mountain.
The Doomsday Prophets and other Naysayers
• Some feel that anxiety and loss more strongly than others. They
like to spread it around.
• Counteract them with positive gossip and a heavy dose of polite
smiling. They gain power from arguments.
That’s a Great Question!
And other useful phrases.
• “I had the same question when I started out and I
found out that….”
• “That’s an interesting hypothetical. I’ll look into it.”
• “It’s not ideal, but it is better than (previous
• “I hear what you’re saying and you’re right, but this is
the best solution right now.”
• “Thank you! That’s a great point. I’ll take it under
Flipside: Finding the Upside
• Complaining feels good, but ultimately wears us
• No technology is perfect. Flaws are easy to
• Ask yourself: how can this make my life easier?
How can I make this technology work in my favor?
• Don’t come to a final conclusion until you’ve been
working daily with a system for three months.
• Think about every time Facebook changes it’s
You Aren’t Stupid!
• There will always be someone quick to critique
• Negative self-talk creates self-fulfilling prophecy by
creating a built in excuse.
• Use statements like ‘This is difficult material’ or ‘It
will take time, but we’re all going to figure this out
• It’s easy to contradict quickly with ‘You’re not
stupid’, but that doesn’t fully answer their concern.
That One Person that Just Doesn’t Get It
• You know. THAT PERSON.
• Give them a one-on-one training.
• Discuss their stumbling blocks.
• Acknowledge their fears.
• Stand firm that this is the way it is
now, regardless of their comfort
• Check in with them. Discreetly.
Flipside: Oh no, am I that one person?
• Everyone has been this person at least once in their lives.
• This instructor had to take algebra three times.
• You aren’t stupid. Sometimes things just don’t click.
• Find alternate sources of training. Maybe how it’s offered
isn’t your learning style.
• Stay calm. Anxiety can blind the learning process. If
you’re overwhelmed, allow yourself breaks. The
aqueducts weren’t invented in a day.
• Technology is a language. Learning new languages is
What About the Patrons?
• If the new technology impacts the patrons, your
front line people will be bracing for that feedback.
• No matter how much preparation is done or how
awesome the technology, some patrons will
• Include responding to patron feedback in training.
– Otherwise you may contend with that negative PR.
– Consider writing full on scripted responses.
What Does Good One -on -One Help Look Like?
• Fear soothing
• Hands on
Soft Rollout- Begin without Beginning
• No advertising.
• Gentle introduction of the new technology
• Final beta test to sort out bugs and hang ups
• Amend the manual as necessary.
• Prepare for the worst and encourage the best.
• Remember that you are the PR department.
– Find a positive spin.
• Address issues as they come up.
• Smile through it all. Especially when you get ‘I
told you so’ from your Doomsday Prophets.
• It takes about 12 weeks to adjust to a change.
Forward into the Past!
• Training is ongoing for all things.
• Consider periodic refresher courses.
• No Help Desk? Designate your trainers as
• Even better, promote the best trainees to Help Desk
• Ensure that the extra responsibility isn’t a burden or
that feeling will transmit to the trainees.
• Be available yourself to answer questions. Strive for
patience and calm.
Trickle Down Effect
• Get your administration on your side.
• Sell them hard on the technology.
• If possible, train them first. Make them experts.
• Ideally, create an environment that gradually does
not allow for them or anyone else to use
Know When to Hold ‘em and When to Fold ‘em
• Sometimes new technology doesn’t work out.
• Give it at least six months before making a final
• When possible, avoid long contracts that bind
you to something you haven’t had a chance to
• Admit to a failure, but don’t
let it stop you from trying
something new again.