Whether you’re already an expert in your field or working on becoming one, establishing your expertise is a crucial step toward gaining trust and building your reputation. The process may seem intimidating, but I’ve outlined a few simple ways to establish yourself as a trusted leader in your field.
Already an expert?
In an environment where anyone can launch a website and claim expertise, it’s not enough to be an expert; you have to be a trusted expert. The hallmark of a trusted expert is sharing knowledge, but keep in mind that quality is as important as quantity. How can you start creating and sharing quality material to establish yourself as a trusted expert? Start with three simple steps:
- Read – It’s important to read the blogs and books written by leaders in your field. Trade associations are a great resource. Most have publications full of articles written by industry leaders. You can use them to find the gaps in industry knowledge by examining what’s out there.
- Write – Once you’re equipped to provide the information the industry is missing, go back to the trade publications and pitch articles or write guest posts for blogs. If you need help getting your foot in the door, ask a previous contributor how they did it. Doing this regularly will give you the content you need to support your expertise.
- Speak – Use the content you’ve created to get a spot on a panel or to speak at a seminar. Professional speaking engagements are a great way to gain trust. Trade associations are always looking for people to speak at meetings, seminars, conferences, and conventions. Partner with a successful speaker to offer your unique perspective and gain an instant audience.
Aspiring to expertise?
Every expert started out with no training or experience. Experts continually improve their performance and if you push yourself, set goals, and get feedback you’ll be able to do the same.
- Push yourself – You know how to drive a car, but would you call yourself an expert driver? Most people learn how to drive a car and then it becomes automatic. Racecar drivers are experts. They constantly tweak their cars and push their comfort zones to go faster and faster. You can take the same approach with building up your expertise. If you do the same things over and over again in the same way, you create habit, not expertise. Strive continually for incrementally better performance and you’ll eventually become an expert.
- Set goals – Successful people set both large and small goals. Small goals can seem pointless without large ones and large goals can seem unattainable without small ones. Set both and you’ll be able to 1) focus on the big picture when the day-to-day is getting you down and 2) immerse yourself in the details when you get overwhelmed.
- Get feedback – Frequent, salient feedback is one of the most important parts of improving your performance. It’s also one of the hardest things to come by. Find someone who knows what good performance looks like and be open to the feedback they provide. A coach is an excellent source of feedback and could be an experienced colleague, a leader in your industry, or a career consultant.
If you’re just starting out, you have an advantage because you can position yourself to be a trusted expert as you gain your expertise. If you find a knowledge gap in your industry, you can specialize and fill it, saving time and energy.
Contact me for help establishing yourself as a trusted expert or planning your path to expertise.