Technophobia is defined as the fear or dislike of advanced technology or complex devices, especially computers.Although self-diagnosed, I’m convinced I suffer from technophobia. While I have the ability to learn how to use technological devices, I become anxious at the mere thought of using hi-tech equipment.
In my personal life I can usually either avoid or delay the use of advanced technological equipment. Believe it or not, the laptop on which I composed this very blog was purchased way back in 2006 – ancient history as it relates to technology. Let’s just say I’m comfortable using my “Old Faithful.”
Recently, however, I went out on a limb and purchased a Smartphone and a Smart TV. While I’m proud of my efforts in stepping out of my comfort zone, I still haven’t gotten around to using all the “bells and whistles” provided with these devices.
When it comes to my professional life, it’s usually not possible to avoid or delay the use of advanced technological equipment. In any given corporate training class, instructors are now using LCD projectors, netbooks, Smart Boards, and the list goes on.
I’ve come to realize that technology is here to stay and it is imperative that we use it correctly. Here are three Technology 101 best practices I have found helpful:
1. Just try it. Don’t be afraid to play around with your equipment to see what it does (when there are no participants present). Thoroughly explore the programs on your netbook or other computer devices. If something goes awry, most tech support personnel can usually either fix the device or return it to its original state. I’m constantly forcing myself to get over my fear and intimidation of technology by performing small tasks like creating a file or changing a desktop picture. Accomplishing these small steps encourages me to take on more significant tasks.
2. Seek help. If you’re lucky enough to work for an organization that has a dedicated technical support staff, reach out to those individuals. They are trained and paid to assist you with the difficulties that may be encountered with technology. I keep these folks on speed dial! And don’t be embarrassed about your troubling situation. Trust me, they’ve heard it all. If tech support is not available, most equipment usually has some sort of a help feature. I’ve found that by right-clicking on a computer keyboard, you’ll find a treasure trove of help options. Explore those features and you might just find the answer(s) to your problem. Save your user manuals. Most are user-friendly and come with information from troubleshooting tips to the basic operational features of your equipment. Recently, my organization invested in new digital cameras for use in our presentation skills courses. I plan to have my user manual readily available the first few times I use the camera.
3. Get some training. When someone within your organization lacks skill and knowledge to perform a particular job function, where do they turn for assistance? You guessed it—training. Well now it might be time to reverse the roles. If you lack the skill and knowledge to use your technology properly, get some training. Another learning option might be to find a technology mentor. There are many people in this world (perhaps within your own organization) who are passionate about technology and wouldn’t mind taking you under their wing to show you what they know. Find that person and seek their expertise.
Let’s face it, technophobia is real. And when the use of technology is an essential part of one’s job, that fear can be heightened. But just know that, as with any other fear, it can be conquered.
Take it from personal experience; conquering that technological fear may not happen overnight. However, with a bit of effort, persistence, resources, and support, you can get there. I wish you the very best of luck with using and implementing the latest technology in all of your upcoming training courses.
Whether or not you experience technophobia, the tips included in this post will help you avoid technology problems in YOUR training.