influencer_westmountmag

On becoming an influencer
in your field

Developing and using in-depth knowledge to build your reputation

By Angela Civitella

We all have some level of expertise – we couldn’t do our jobs if we didn’t! But how many of us can say that we’re genuine experts in our area?

Maybe you do consider yourself an expert: you’ve spent years building your knowledge, you’re confident in your skills, and co-workers regularly seek your advice. But, despite your expertise, you may be little known outside of your close circle of colleagues, and this could limit your opportunities for progression.

In this article, we look at how to become a real expert in your field and build a reputation to match!

Why build expertise?

An expert is someone who is an authority on a particular subject, or has mastered a specific technique or skill.

When you become an expert, you’ll be the go-to person for help or advice. You’ll be more innovative in your role, too, because you’ll be able to spot opportunities. This can open doors to better assignments, promotions, speaking invitations, and to a great reputation.

An expert is someone who is an authority on a particular subject, or has mastered a specific technique or skill.

With expertise comes the potential to develop expert power. Managed correctly, expert power earns trust and respect from others, making it easier to inspire people and to get everyone on board with new projects and ideas. This can be deeply rewarding and give your work great purpose.

How to build your expertise and reputation

Here are five steps that you can follow to build your expertise and develop your expert reputation:

1. Choose an area to develop
You likely have a deep pool of skills already, so how do you decide which one(s) to develop?

Start by considering your personal passions. What interests you most, and where do your talents naturally lie. Choosing something that you genuinely care about, and that you have an aptitude for, will be more motivating than something you find dull or difficult to master.

Then, consider the skills that matter in your industry. Which areas are valued most or will be most useful in the future?

‘It’s preferable to focus on a niche, because you need to be able to master your subject – the broader the field you choose, the harder it will be to do this.’

Also, look for knowledge gaps in your organization – areas that are underserved or which have the potential to make a huge difference in the long term. Focusing on this is also a good way to future-proof your career. And, if you work with clients, consider which skills and techniques they value. How could developing expertise in a particular area be of benefit to them?

Remember that the expertise you choose to develop doesn’t have to mean gaining a professional qualification, a high-ranking position, or an award. Soft skills matter, too. You could build experience in conflict resolution, for example, or in facilitating group-training sessions. It’s preferable to focus on a niche, because you need to be able to master your subject – the broader the field you choose, the harder it will be to do this.

2. Schedule time
Next, make time in your schedule for building your expertise. You could use your lunch break, your commute, or free time in the mornings, evenings or weekends. Any time you can dedicate to building your expertise, however long or short, will be time well spent. The key is to make a commitment to building your knowledge.

3. Build your knowledge
Now it’s time to start building your expertise. Find all the information that you need to become, and to be seen as, an expert. For instance, will you need specific qualifications? What credentials do other experts in the field have? If you need formal training, your organization may even be willing to cover the costs.

‘Mentors can share hard-won expertise, broaden your network, and teach knowledge that often can’t be found through theory alone.’

It can be useful to identify a role model – someone who you view as an expert. Using their example, find out what makes them an expert, and how you can achieve a similar level of knowledge, skill or exposure.

You can also try to find a mentor who’s already travelled a similar path. Mentors can share hard-won expertise, broaden your network, and teach knowledge that often can’t be found through theory alone.

Once you’ve identified what you need to know or learn, find ways to use that knowledge. Seek out challenging assignments or on-the-job training that will test your skills. Even if you make mistakes, you’ll learn valuable lessons.

4. Share your knowledge
You’ll need to share your expertise in order to put it to good use and to establish your personal brand and reputation.

First, identify your audience: who do you need to target to make the greatest impact? Who will it most benefit you to help? And who do you most want to influence?

‘You’ll need to share your expertise in order to put it to good use and to establish your personal brand and reputation.’

Then, think about how you can get in front of your audience. There are several strategies that can help you to develop your reputation as an expert. For example:

PUBLIC SPEAKING
This is a great way to demonstrate expertise. You could, for example, present at trade conferences, business groups, board meetings, company updates, and at schools or universities.

WRITE A BLOG
Blogging allows people to get to know, like, and trust you from afar. It also provides you with a potentially worldwide audience. You could start your own blog or ask to contribute to already established blogs.

VOLUNTEER AS AN EXPERT SOURCE
Writers and journalists are always looking for expert sources to interview for TV features, and for print and online articles. Offering your expertise to them can boost your reputation and generate buzz around your products and services.

CREATING INFORMATION PRODUCTS
Webinars, eBooks, podcasts, and online videos are all great ways to share your expertise, and they provide added value for your audience.

HELPING OTHERS
There are many ways to use your expertise to help others. For instance, you could volunteer for a committee within your organization, or lend your skills and knowledge to a nonprofit that you care about.

‘Blogging allows people to get to know, like, and trust you from afar. It also provides you with a potentially worldwide audience.’

5. Avoid the expertise trap
Experts must continue to learn and be open to new possibilities. The knowledge and skills that have made you successful in the past won’t always be the right ones for the future. Have the humility to recognize that things change and that you can’t know everything.

Image:祝 鹤槐 from Pexels Bouton S'inscrire à l'infolettre – WestmountMag.caRead other articles by Angela Civitella


Angela Civitella - WestmountMag.ca

Angela Civitella, a certified management business coach with more than 20 years of proven ability as a negotiator, strategist, and problem-solver, creates sound and solid synergies with those in quest of improving their leadership and team building skills. You can reach Angela at 514 254-2400 • linkedin.com/in/angelacivitella/ • intinde.com@intinde


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  1. Mona Andrei

    Great points!

    Step #1 (choose an area to develop) is actually how I “fell” into copywriting and marketing. Back in the day, I offered secretarial/administrative/research services to small businesses and entrepreneurs. At the time, I noticed that many of my clients didn’t know how to market themselves and especially weren’t adept at writing their own marketing collateral. Already a writer (articles for consumer magazines, etc.), I made it my mission to learn everything I could about copywriting and marketing strategies.

    Step #5 (avoid the expertise trap) is such a great reminder. I find that the mistake a lot of people make is that once they’ve established themselves or reached a certain level within their field, they stop learning. To your point, industries, markets, and even trends and needs are constantly evolving and it’s important to keep up!


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