Today I want to talk about a slightly controversial topic – the concept of being an expert. According to the Oxford Dictionary, it is either a noun: “a person who is very knowledgeable about or skillful in a particular area”
or an adjective: “having or involving a great deal of knowledge or skill in a particular area”
From this definition, we are all experts in something. I’m making the bold claim in this blog that we start to claim that title. In my mind, an expert is someone who knows more than me about something. It’s all relative, isn’t it?
Why we need to claim our role as experts
As human beings, we want to learn. We want to gain knowledge and then make decisions on how to use that knowledge in our lives. It’s why pub quizzes are so popular, but it’s also why there are so many courses and workshops available in the small business space.
I believe being an expert doesn’t mean you’re an expert in everything. It doesn’t even mean you’re The Top Expert in the world (because honestly, who is?), it simply means you know more about a particular topic or area than the people who want to learn from you. Using the pub quiz analogy, you know who Postman Pat’s wife is (a question I’ll never forget because our team lost £500 in a quiz once for not knowing – answer at the bottom of this blog*) but your audience want to know.
But what if there are people who know more?
Thing is, the people listening to you want to learn from you whether you’re positioning yourself as an expert or not. Your clients and customers need your help and guidance. That’s how they come to trust you.
As humans, we enjoy sharing knowledge. That’s how we form bonds. In prehistoric times it’s how we learned to walk on two rather than four legs or how to light fires.
If we constantly look over our shoulder panic-stricken that someone else will come and take over our market, we won’t get very far. Instead, we can carve out our niche. Look at what makes us different, and start sharing tips and resources. Enjoy owning what we know.
People who are listening to you don’t know as much as you do about what you do. They’re actually expecting information from you as they need to be guided by you. Like a baby learning to walk, you don’t yell at them going “WHY DON’T YOU KNOW THIS ALREADY?”
What if people don’t agree that I’m an expert?
We have to take courage and believe it ourselves. We can look at what we know and start from there. From courage comes confidence. Why not start sharing what you know about what you do/make/sell/create/offer? It’s the way to get people to trust you, but first, you have to trust yourself. Show them why they should get to know, like, and trust you.
We enjoy finding evidence that will back up our beliefs that we are in fact, not great all the time at what we do, so we are on the constant lookout for criticism, that fear of being called out, or anything else that might be still lurking from school days when there was always one person who seemed to have talent and that definitely wasn’t you.
From over 10 years in business and you know, 40 years living as a human being, there are many people who we might deem to be experts and others who disagree with our opinion. There are also people who don’t agree on which spoon is the best spoon in the drawer (it’s the one with the smooth edges, duh), so I think it’s safe to say that we are allowed to have different opinions and we can carry on regardless.
Giving yourself permission
We don’t want to be influencers, but we do want to influence people to buy from us as small businesses. But there’s a reason why influencers monetise because they realise that ppl listen to what they have to say, and that’s all any of us really want isn’t it? To be heard? To be trusted? To feel validated? The trouble is, many of us don’t feel we should put ourselves on a pedestal for whatever reason. We dismiss what we are going or have gone through (see my blog on not dismissing our past lives). We don’t validate ourselves and yet we are still waiting for others to validate us. We need to give ourselves that permission.
OK, I’ve claimed my expertise, what do I do now?
Now is the time for you to share what you know. There’s no point in gatekeeping your knowledge, your expertise. You’re dismissing the value of what you know otherwise. You really do have permission to launch your new course, your membership, your workshop.
You can start teaching what you know. Why not have good quality knowledge shared?
Teach What You Know is the name of my new group mini program. Doors open on Wednesday 22nd March for the beta group. We’ll work together to talk about the tech you need, we’ll get clear on your idea and we’ll get you to launch it. You can find out more about the course outline here.
Got a question or thought to share about this? Come tell me on Instagram.
*The answer is Sarah.