What do you think of when you hear the term “expert?” What makes one an expert in your mind? How does one become truly recognized as an expert in their field? It is not easy to be considered an Expert, otherwise we’d all be experts. However with time, practice and persistence, one can grow into a truly recognized expert within their field. Keep in mind that you do not need to know more than everyone else to be considered an expert. You just need to know more than or at least be able to educate those within your target audience. So how does one accomplish this? Perhaps most prominently is one’s ability to be regularly visible within their field while sharing their knowledge with others. Following are 6 steps you can partake in to help increase your visibility and grow your status to “Expert” within your field.
One of the things we often tell our readers, clients and prospective clients, is that when you are looking for an expert in your field, stay away from those who say “we can do it all.” At IPWatchdog, we specialize in assisting inventors in protecting their inventions through patent searching and filing patent applications. People come to us all of the time looking for us to help them with prototyping, manufacturing, and licensing their products as well as getting assistance with “selling” their inventions, to name a few. These are not our areas of specialty nor do we pretend that they are and we are not afraid to be honest with people. We do however, know others in these areas that we feel confident in sending people to for these needs. What is the saying, you can know a lot about a little or a little about a lot? You can either be excellent at a few things or OK at a lot of things, but generally not both. Which would you prefer? Know your area of expertise and stick with it. Never stop educating yourself in your area and do not “take on more than you can chew” so to speak.
KNOW YOU’RE AN EXPERT
Be confident in your knowledge and don’t be afraid to refer to yourself as an expert. When you are unsure of yourself, others will see it. You need to have the confidence to let people know that you are an expert in your field and that you are willing to back it up. No one will simply bestow this title upon you have to give yourself the title and believe it.
What form of Networking do you partake in? There are many ways that one can network. One of the most common is through your local Chamber of Commerce. Although you may be required to join the Chamber, there are some that will allow you to attend a function or two as a guest. Chambers are a great place to Network and meet other businesses members and businesses within your community.
There are also business networking groups such as BNI and other specialized groups where people within the business community meet weekly or bi weekly for breakfast or lunch to discuss business and to exchange referrals. There is usually membership fees associated with joining such groups, so be sure to research the groups you want to join and visit several different ones as a guest to be sure you are spending your money wisely and joining a group that is a good fit for you. Other groups such as Alumni groups can serve a similar purpose. You can also utilize Social Networking. I recently wrote a series of articles for our blog IPWatchdog.com on the use of Social Networking for Businesses. These articles focus on using Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and others forms of online social networks as a relatively inexpensive or even free business tool that you can use to not only get the word out on your business but also to start making your mark as an expert in your industry. The best thing about this form of networking is that you can network with people all over the country and the world for that matter, without incurring travel expenses or requiring a large advertising budget.
Create profiles and let people in the business community know about you, who you are and what you do. And stay active to show those who follow you what it is you are passionate about and what topics you could be considered an expert on.
VOLUNTEER TO SPEAK AT ENGAGEMENTS
Getting your name and ultimately your brand recognized is key to getting more speaking engagements. Unless you let people know you are available to speak, they will not know it. Again, you can utilize the Chambers of Commerce for this purpose. Not only can you volunteer to speak at some of their events, but they will help put you in front of others within the business community that may be looking for speakers at their engagements as well.
When you do go to a function, make sure that you have lots of business cards and don’t be afraid to have “Available for Speaking Engagements” printed right on them. Networking face to face will put a personal spin on things and will give prospective clients the opportunity to see firsthand how you speak and interact with others and also to get a feel of your expertise without your having to “toot your own horn” so to speak. I would also suggest that you contact local colleges and Universities in your area. Often there are programs that may offer you the ability to Network and or speak depending upon the topic and your expertise. Also, use your blog or website as advertisement. Make sure it is clear to your readers that you are available to speak and on which topics you are willing to speak.
What better way is to show your expertise on a topic than to write about it? Write articles about your specialty area or industry as a whole. When you write articles, you are showing others that you know what you are talking about. It is a great way to establish yourself as an expert in your field while sharing your knowledge with others. When you answer unasked questions, you are gaining credibility and building trust.
Start your own blog covering topics within your area of expertise. Write regularly about your industry and offer your opinions and experiences in your writing. You can post new and interesting topics daily or weekly if time is an issue. Be sure to refer and link to other things that you have written previously that are relevant to the topic at hand. Allow people the opportunity to comment on your blog or to submit comments to you. This will give others the ability to ask you questions that you can answer in a public forum to show your expertise. Be sure and tell people on your blog and in your “About the Author” section when you submit work to other outlets that you are available to speak on these topics. The best thing about having your own blog is that some people will link to it, and others will forward your URL onto friends and colleagues.
Spend time researching places where you can submit that which you write about your topic of expertise. Discuss specific topics of interest and newsworthy topics in your industry that are current and carry a lot of interest with your field. By doing so, you are giving people a sneak peak at your level of knowledge on each topic while also remaining relevant and current.
Also consider writing a book on your area of professional interest. According to Dan Schawbel, author of personal-branding book “Me 2.0,”, “”The easiest and fastest way to be positioned as an expert in your field is to publish a book.” When one writes a book that is published it instantly establishes credibility among your peers as well as your target audience. There are companies such as Author Solutions that can assist you in self publishing by removing the typical barriers associated with publishing a book.
In closing, being an expert does not mean that you are the best, or the most popular or that you know everything there is to know. But to be a true expert you must distinguish yourself from your competition and others in your field. The best way to do that is to show others that you know what you are talking about. Being able to get yourself in front of others to answer questions and dispel uncertainty is the best way to become a known expert in your field.