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20 Jun

Silence! Action!

Datum: 2017-06-20 19:45

Let’s say you know some­thing a col­league does not, and you want to teach the col­league how it is done. It does not have to be some com­pli­cat­ed expert knowl­edge, but can be some­thing as (seem­ing­ly) sim­ple as how to do a par­tic­u­lar move in a pro­gram or what the trick is to feed­ing the print­er with that pre-print­ed paper so that the print­ed text ends up in the right places.

Not anoth­er list
But some­how you nev­er seem to be in the same place at the same time, so you nev­er get around to show­ing the col­league how it’s done. Should you cre­ate a cheat-sheet? Write a check­list? Take some screen­shots and paste them into Word, accom­pa­nied by writ­ten instruc­tions? Well, if you ask me, this is where a thresh­old is poten­tial­ly cre­at­ed which you will need to get over to get the task done. It might be a low one, but it is there, since you need to think of what screen­shots to take, how much detail you need to pro­vide, and if the doc­u­ment needs some spe­cial formatting.

Per­son­al­ly, I love check­lists, but for some do this”-situations (but not all!), there are even bet­ter and sim­pler solutions.

Do this
The next time you need to explain to some­one how some­thing is done, but you are find­ing it dif­fi­cult to meet up phys­i­cal­ly or in real time, and the descrip­tion does not need to adhere to some strict rules regard­ing for­mat or future stor­age, film your instruc­tions instead of writ­ing them down. There are at least three ways to do this in:

  • If you have a Mac, record what is hap­pen­ing on your screen using the stan­dard Quick­Time Play­er — with or with­out sound (which would prob­a­bly be all your comments).

  • If you use Win­dows, record what you do by using the secret pro­gram (that is part of the stan­dard selec­tion of pro­grams) Steps Recorder. Here is an instruc­tion of how to find it and get start­ed using it. The result of this record­ing will not be a video, but instead freeze frames depict­ing the oper­a­tions you do, and the pro­gram will write the instruc­tions for you. It might not look good enough to use in a pre­sen­ta­tion, but it suf­fices to show some­one who can look the oth­er way regard­ing the aes­thet­ics of the pro­gram how some­thing is done. And you will not have to down­load and install any new programs.

  • If what you need to describe is not some­thing you do on a com­put­er screen, just tape it with your phone. These days it is just as easy to film as it is to share the video (or pub­lish it some­where, if more than one per­son could use the tutorial).

Done in a flash
If you film the instruc­tions that are appro­pri­ate for the for­mat, describ­ing how some­thing is done will cost you less time and effort than if you were to write a man­u­al. You will get what­ev­er you are going to teach done while film­ing it, and with just the press of a few but­tons, your col­league will have got­ten access to your knowl­edge, know-how and exper­tise. You will not post­pone gen­er­at­ing the descrip­tion since it is now so much eas­i­er to get done, and will have more time for oth­er more impor­tant tasks.

What method do you prefer?
Do you use this or some sim­i­lar way to share knowl­edge and infor­ma­tion in your work? Write a com­ment and share, because per­haps you’ve found some new, inge­nious man­ner to share your know-how that could help either myself or anoth­er read­er refine our work meth­ods further.