Quit acting old

I was checking in at the airport when I noticed a fellow struggling at the kiosk next to me. To no one in particular (but loud enough for me and a dozen others to hear) he started complaining about the automated check in process.  

“What’s wrong with talking to people? How are we supposed to figure out how to get on the dad-gummed plane?”  

He was in his 60s, perhaps, and looked pretty fit and clear-minded. Maybe he was just venting, but if you know me at all, you know that I don’t suffer fools.  

Though it was NONE of my business, I approached him.  

“What’s wrong with you? There are very simple instructions on the screen. With pictures! You take your credit card and slide it in the slot. You can do this, right?”  

Luckily, he didn’t pop me in the nose. Instead, he laughed and said, “I just miss the good old days when people talked to one another.”  

Pressing my luck, I replied, “We can talk to one another. You and I are doing so right now. Sometimes technology speeds up mundane processes so we are free and clear to do other things. Fair enough? My concern is that you are a fairly young fellow, and you are going to miss out on lots of great things if you make airline-kiosk levels of technology beyond your ken.” I figured since he said “dad-gummed” I could match him in the ol-timey lingo department.  

I, too, grew up with a single telephone landline and a rotary phone. I existed before pagers and faxes and smartphones. However, I’m not going backwards, and I encourage you to embrace technology, too. Old people don’t try new things. I’ve become sensitive to this because I’m noticing old-people-behavior in very young people. You are acting old if:

  • You take pride in not being on social media.  
  • You don’t know how to download a PDF.  
  • Your phone flips open.  
  • You can’t connect to an online webinar or GoToMeeting. 
  • You have an AOL email address.  
  • You’ve never listened to a podcast.  
  • Your Netflix account has never been activated.  
  • You complain at an airport kiosk about the complicated automated system.  

There is a veritable universe of tools and information online. You can learn how to grow your business or plan a vacation. You can shop. You can structure a fitness routine. You can watch movies and play cool games. You can communicate with family and friends. You can take and store pictures, and create family movies. You can write and publish a book. You can get directions to anywhere in the world. You can access literally any tech manual you may need in the field. You can learn and grow and contribute in fast, easy and free ways! Don’t limit yourself and miss out on the massive opportunities available to us in this amazing time.  

Here are my top tips for embracing technology like a teenager.  

Goodbye flip phone, hello smart phone

If you have a flip phone, get thee to an electronics store (like Best Buy) and buy a sexy, new smartSign up for the free class that goes with it. Learn the basics about calling, texting, emailing and using an online calendar. 

While you are there, buy a new computer or combo-computer-tablet gizmo. So often it’s the out-of-date technology that frustrates us. The new stuff works nicely.  

It may be a good idea todiscover Facetime or Skype. These features allow you to see who and what’s on the other side of your phone call. It revolutionizes troubleshooting and remote support. And, it’s great to connect with loved ones far from home.  

Embrace online business 

Create or update a responsive, search-engine optimized, state-of-the-art website. 

Make it easy for customers to contact you and arrange for service from your website. 


a few social media links. Encourage your customers to post their great experiences online. I am a fan of www.ReviewBuzz.com — this site makes it easy to get great testimonials from your customers and post them on the major review sites.  

If you need help, hire someone with online marketing experience in the service industry. Get a few recommendations. Keep your marketing pro on a “short leash” and visit weekly about projects, expectations and costs. What can you expect? More service calls? An expanding email list? Measure your results.  

Stop complaining about how much time kids today spend on their phones 

Texting, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Periscope, Blab, Tumbler, Twitter and a million other apps are angling for our attention. If you want to stay in touch with your kids and grandkids, ask them which way works best to communicate with them. Then, use it. 

You can whine about them not calling you or stopping in to visit. Or, you can have a relationship with them where you stay in the loop about what they are interested in, what they are doing and who they hang out with.  

Also, avoid any online conversations about politics or religion.  Trust me on this one.

Set boundaries on tech time

Trust me on this one. It’s totally cool to put the phones away during meal times. Or church. And, definitely no texting or typing while driving.  

Don’t try to establish a no texting or social media rule at work. It will make liars out of all team members under the age of 30.  Enlist an active Facebooker or Tweeter to help you keep your social media accounts current and lively. 

Make it a point to be so interested in the young people in your life that spending face-to-face time is of value to them. Be so interesting that they turn away from their phones.  

Create an account for IT help in your accounting software, and in your budget

IT stands for internet technology. It takes some time, know-how and money to keep everything up and working. Plan to commit a few resources. 

However, just like everything else in the world, sometimes all you have to do to solve a problem with IT is to turn it off and turn it back on again. You know this trick, right? 

Hire a young person willing to learn new stuff to maintain your digital systems, or be willing to buy the training for an eager-beaver at your company who wants to learn.  

Remember, your customer pays for everything. It is all right to increase your prices to cover new equipment. They benefit when they can schedule online or reach you via text.  

Ignore the bad stuff. The internet is a wonderful resource! However, there are a zillion crappy websites and nasty people who love to deal in negativity. Just don’t click on or fuss about the things you don’t like.  

Sure, you may feel awkward with new technology. As soon as you get your arms around one piece of it, it changes. Embrace it anyway. It will keep us young!  

NOTE: Feel free to share this article with the old timers in your life. Let them know that if Ellen can live in the high tech world, they can, too! Have them optinto my website community at www.ellenrohr.com, and I’ll share freebies — webinars, templates, how-to videos — for fixing and growing service businesses.   

By the way, this is a funny clip about helping mom with iTunes. Yep. That was me. But I got better, www.cc.com/video-clips/4u9ao9/the-half-hour-explaining-itunes-on-the-phone.

Ellen Rohr provides “in the trenches” insight that business owners can relate to. Comments? Questions? A different view? Reach her at 417-753-1111 or contact@ellenrohr.com.You can also join the Bare Bones Biz community, at www.ellenrohr.com, for free tips, problem-solving webinars, money-making tools and lots of love.

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