Creating a good first contact is crucial in the field of technology. This establishes trust with the person whom you are interacting with and instills confidence in them. They may have fear of technology and having to learn something new, which leaves it up to you to make that transition as easy and effortless as possible. Take everything one step at a time and do your best to not overwhelm them. In our text, The Geek Leader’s Handbook, Paul Glen and Maria McManus allude to this idea by giving four points to consider. These are:
- Understand where they are coming from
- Imagine what could go wrong
- Plan ahead to avoid disaster, promote good feeling
- execute with kindness
I have experienced this in a number of ways. First, working at the IT department on campus. Here we encounter people with technical problems everyday. These could be issues with the network and infrastructure, issues with faculty and staff computers, complications with software and or hardware, face to face or over the phone interactions with students and faculty, etc.. Our supervisors emphasise that we should be assertive with those that we interact with. If we do not know the answer at that exact moment, we are to inform them that their issue is important to us and that we will find the solution to their problem.
Second, working with family and friends. I am the one in my family that embraces technology and therefore I am the go to guy when someone has an issue with their device and or if they do not know how to do something. An example of this is when my dad and two family friends purchased smart phones (iPhones specifically). I own an iPhone, so both my dad and my family friends looked to me for guidance. They requested that I sit down with them and give them a basic overview of the phone and it’s functions. With my dad it was pretty easy because it was a one on one interaction, but with the family friends, it was a bit more hectic. I found myself teaching everything doubly and therefore my patients were tried, but I maintained a positive attitude and assured them that they could do it. All in all, both my dad and my family friends now use their smart phones daily and have told me that they did not know how they lived without a smart device. My dad had never sent a text before owning his smart phone, but now he texts all of the time.
A funny experience that I had with my dad was showing him how to save a picture from his message feed to his photo’s app. The only problem was that I was not able to show him in person, because I was in Greenville at the time. Instruction had started, so I had to come up with a creative way to teach/show him how to do this. I decided that I would call him via FaceTime and show him that way. I am sure you can guess what happened…He answered the phone thinking it was a normal call and placed the phone next to his ear. I had to tell him to take the phone away from his ear and to look at the screen because I was video chatting with him. His reaction was priceless. He was blown away because he did not know that his phone could do that. From there I proceeded to share with him, on my phone, how do save the photo and told him to try it on his. After getting off of FaceTime, I received a thank you text for showing him, visually, how to do that.
All in all, just as Glen and McManus stated, it is important to understand the person, imagine what could go wrong, plan ahead to avoid disaster, and be kind and assuring.