Desktop Sharing Isn't Just For IT Geeks- Really!

Last Updated Oct 20, 2010 2:51 PM EDT

Desktop sharing is a great tool for remote managers to have available. Too many of us, though, associate it with humiliating online sessions with IT when we can't perform whatever simple functions they ask and they get cranky and have to do it themselves. Not a terribly auspicious introduction to a useful tool.

Humiliation aside, there are a lot of ways to use desktop sharing to help your team learn, bond and work together. All it takes is the right tool, the right attitude and a little practice.

  • Collaborate and polish documents with the whole team to create buy-in. Does your team wonder how you came up with that budget? Do they ever ask what idiot created that report? Now you can make them the idiots... okay, that came out wrong. The point is, when you work on a spreadsheet and everyone can see the numbers and their impact, or they can give input on the right wording and watch you adopt their changes right there it makes a world of difference to buy-in and acceptance. Change that people participate in is resisted a whole lot less than change that is imposed by someone else.
  • Train on new processes and systems. All the memos and nagging in the world don't help people understand how to fill out paperwork or use a new software tool quite like seeing it in real time and (hopefully) getting to try it right then and there. You don't have to wait for approved training sessions to bring new people up to speed. More importantly, when people have gone through training it's a great way to help coach them. (Shockingly), not everyone learns something perfectly the first time. You can do one on one sessions, if needed, or get the whole group involved. It's tempting to try and teach something to the whole team at once, but it might be more effective to spend some time with individuals who really need the help. Some platforms also let you record these sessions so folks can go back and look at them later on their own time.
  • Show them what you're talking about. People are visually-oriented creatures. Instead of talking about how easy your website is to navigate, what if you could actually take them to the site and walk them through it. It's benefits time, do you really want to answer all those panicky calls before the renewal deadline? Call up the form and get everyone's questions answered.
I mentioned earlier that this takes practice. When using desktop sharing, it's important to maintain your credibility. When you share your desktop it sees everything (and I mean everything) that's there.