My boss has a company credit card that she uses very responsibly and sparsely. In order to get approval for her purchases, she has to use this online system where she scans the receipts, attaches them to blahblahblah, it’s actually pretty streamline once you get it.
She asked me to help her do this recently, so I sat down in front of a program I had never once used or heard of, and figured it out. We got it done, and we did it right. Regardless, she wanted us to really master the program, so she and I went to a small seminar on how to use this program. We found some seats, and a gray-haired woman stepped to the podium. As the overhead projector flickered to life, I could feel my confidence in the seminar draining away. What would this woman teach me that she hadn’t been taught by someone my age or younger? I scanned the room for said youth and lo and behold, a young woman around my age sat two rows back from the front, anxiously watching the older woman (apparently her boss) fumble with switches and knobs to get the light at the podium to turn off.
I remember now what it’s like to sit through a boring lecture from an instructor so out of touch with her audience that she doesn’t understand the questions being asked. Throughout the presentation, the young woman would quickly interject a clarification that cut straight to the point on a topic the lecturer couldn’t seem to stop hovering around and just land on. The older woman spoke slowly (like we were children), and paused now and then to let some useless piece of information sink in, like, “You won’t be able to get to this page. I have administration access, I can get here. So can Lauren here. So it’ll look different for you, because you don’t have the same level access as me… [long pause].” She repeated herself several times (unnecessarily), she did not answer the questions I asked about site security, and had no examples set up to demonstrate how to actually use the program we had attended the seminar to learn.
Toward the end of the presentation she remembered a few things she had forgotten to mention, and threw a bunch of unsequenced, seemingly important tidbits of info at us without visuals. “Oh wait, I forgot. You’re going to have to hit the Save button before you hit the Approve button or the pdf won’t stay attached.” Three hands flew up. What Save button? “Oh, you can’t see it because I’ve already done this one.” What Approve button? “The one at the bottom of the page.” A new hand goes up. What page? “The last one. The one where we attached the pdf.” Could you show us? “[sigh] Uh, sure, lemme just… find… one…”
A few highlights:
“You’ll get an email with a link to the receipt. [pause] It’s like the little flag on your mailbox going up.”
“You see how these are shaped? They look like folders, right? Think of it like you have a bunch of folders on your desk.”
“When you scan your receipts, name them something that works for you so you remember what it is.”
“So that’s maybe new for those of you who have never scanned something before.”
Ok, so that last one might actually be legitimate, but I’ve been scanning shit since high school. How have any of the people at this seminar not used a scanner before?
Young people: take charge. You should be doing this kind of presentation, in half the time, with about a thousand percent more clarity for the audience. I have nothing against old people, but my generation was raised with computers, so our brains are structured to understand how they function. Anyone born before 1980 is just at a natural disadvantage.