You know the type.
The type of people that, when searching for an online video type "google.com" into their Ask search toolbar on their web browser, click the first search result (Google.com), types in "youtube," clicks the first result (YouTube.com), and then finally types his/her search query.
If you didn't see a problem with that, you might be one of them yourself.
Here's how to work with the technologically handicapped:
1. Start from the beginning. Yes, in some cases, this may even entail the inclusion of “Turn on the computer.” You can’t assume they know anything if you want to be the most helpful. If they’re glaring at you, however, that may be an indicator that they believe you are insulting their intelligence. If this occurs, simply ask them how they would do it, and pick up from there.
2. Listen. While you think you may be being very helpful with your articulate, beautifully-executed explanation, it may be going completely over their head. During your explanation process, be sure to check up on them once and a while with questions like, “Does that make sense?” or “Is anything unclear?” Also, allowing them to reiterate what you said in their words is a helpful clue to see if they understood you.
3. Avoid abbreviations, acronyms and other tech jargon at all costs. They're just not going to get it. Instead, go along with their strange explanatory metaphors. If you’re following steps 1-2 correctly, at some point the light will go on and the person you are helping will say something like, “Oh, so it’s like a car, and you’re just filling the gas tank!” …Although their oddly-worded reiteration might not always make sense to you, do your best to interpret it by asking them questions. “OK, what about this is like filling a car’s gas tank?” Although their “Eureka!” moment didn't quite click with you, it did click with them. And THAT is the beginning of true progress.
4. Make them practice. Even if you think they heard you and seem to understand everything you've just told them, let they try it themselves before you move on. They might have heard you wrong or you could have misspoken. One of the best ways to learn is by experience,so observe them as they give it a go.
5. Keep in mind: they probably know more than you in a different area. Before you get frustrated, remember that while they may be ignorant about computers, you are probably just as ignorant in another area and you should continue to be gracious to them. There are many brilliant men and women that are just as ignorant about computers as the person you are helping.
So the next time someone says, “How do you find your favorites on the computer? I left-clicked the 'e' but nothing happened…” for the fifth time, don’t allow your blood to boil, instead, kindly lend them a hand using the five steps above.
I write about tech, social media and branding. Opinions are my own and do not necessarily reflect any of my employers' thoughts.