Nine ways to help colleagues use Google Docs, rather than beating them.

I have felt the frustration of trying to get a colleague to use Google Docs (or anything else cloud-based). I offer these tips for dealing with folks who could help you help them, if only they could easily collaborate with you:

  1. Breathe. Bludgeoning them with your cell phone until they have the IQ of a parakeet will not help.
  2. Understand that in the grand scheme of things, Google Docs is still “new” technology to many people
  3. Understand that LOTS of people have NO CLUE as to what Google Docs is when you mention it – they pretend to know by nodding along, but they have never seen it, maybe never heard it.
  4. Understand that Google Docs is 100 times easier to show than to describe. Show them. Try not to burst a capillary when they explain that they don’t have a Google account or Gmail. They probably don’t
  5. Show them, specifically, how the task you are trying to complete is easier with Google Docs, including the time it takes to teach/learn it.
  6. Suggest to them other common uses you think they could find value in.
  7. Explain that they will be able to throw out their flash drive and they won’t ever have to buy WORD again. Ever. Assure them that that is ok. But don’t mention Excel. Some people find a lot of comfort in Excel, and you don’t want to disturb that.
  8. Encourage them to collaborate with you on something fun, like using a shared spreadsheet to plan a barbecue, or to use a form to do RSVP’s. Anything to take away the mystique.
  9. If all else fails, bribe them. “IF you can puh-leeez just do this on Docs this one time, I will reward you with a jar of your favorite Strawberry Jam” Something like that.
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