The #1 Barrier to Technology Adoption: Fear

Know someone too scared to embrace a new technology? Wondering how you can help them get beyond the fear to the benefits? Let’s talk about doing battle with technology adoption enemy number one: fear.

I’ll be the first to admit, many technologies — computers especially — seem scary, complex, and in some ways, intelligent. Newcomers might even perceive that level of sophistication like a foe or enemy force. I remember well how daunting personal computing was for me to willingly engage. In hindsight, it seems silly for me to have been so worried about a machine. But my perceived inadequacy and lack of knowledge about the subject made it feel very real at the time.

So, is it possible to get someone to want to embrace the technology? Yes, but here’s your primary objective. If you even want to get your foot in the door and have a chance to win them over, you must first find ways to shut down their fear. Even if there are incentives for embracing the technology, they often won’t be enough beause fear is more powerful.

Eliminating fear was one of my primary goals in and purposes for writing The Ultimate PC Primer, and it’s also why the book went through four manuscript revisions. It took that long to figure out how to integrate multiple ways and angles for maximizing encouragement and disarming fear at every possible point of newcomer worry.

People find security in knowing they’re not the first to have trod the road of technology adoption, and it’s comforting to know that others who have had the same fears go on to overcome them and do well. (See the Introduction of The Ultimate PC Primer for my personal story, which is available in the Look Inside feature on Amazon.) Stories of success go a long way to reassure fearful skeptics.

So if you’re trying to convince a parent, friend, or colleague to embrace some new technology without success, take a step back and ask if that person is likely afraid. If so, drop the logical arguments and make the emotional barriers your first battle. Find examples of others who have overcome the same skepticism and worries. Empathize with their fears, even if you know those fears are unnecessary. Lastly, remember to be patient.

In my next post, I’ll offer some other ways to further encourage technology adoption.

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