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.
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.