“An expert is someone who has succeeded in making decisions and judgements simpler through knowing what to pay attention to and what to ignore.” ~Edward de Bono
Want to boost the number of clients your company has? Want to attend industry conferences around the world for free? If you want to boost your company’s presence within an industry you need a “known” expert within your organization. While topic experts are not the fast route to riches, becoming known as an expert is a great way to promote your organization and build lasting value for yourself.
Is it possible to become an expert on medicine without going to medical school? Probably not but there are numerous subjects which still have plenty of space for topic experts. Before deciding that you want to become an expert on something, you must know what you want to become an expert at and be willing to dedicate years of your life to mastering that subject. One book I read says that it takes 10 years to truly becoming an expert however Tony Robbins claims that he was able to become an expert speaker by taking on as many speaking opportunities as possible in a 1 year timeframe.
While you may not be able to have the experience of an industry veteran in 12 months, it’s possible to brand yourself as an expert by using social media. For those that aren’t clear about what an expert is, I’ll use Wikipedia’s definition: “someone widely recognized as a reliable source of technique or skill whose faculty for judging or deciding rightly, justly, or wisely is accorded authority and status by their peers or the public in a specific well-distinguished domain”.
Before walking you through the process of becoming an expert, let me be clear that becoming an expert is a choice it’s not for everybody. Many large corporations (to their detriment) frown down upon known experts within the organization. Regardless of those that dislike experts, becoming one will open far more doors than it closes. Any of the doors that close as a result of you becoming an expert probably weren’t worth opening anyways if you ask me though!
Pick A Topic And Set A Goal
So now that you’ve decided on becoming an expert, you need to choose what topic it is that you’re going to become an expert on. This does not have to be a lifetime commitment but keep in mind that it’s something you’ll want to focus on for years to come. You must be passionate about the topic that you’re going to focus on. Will some of the work become boring? Possibly, however most people who are truly passionate about what they do never work a day in their lives.
Also, be prepared to set a goal. “Becoming and expert” is not a tangible goal. A goal that you can work towards is something such as:
Over the next two years I will become an expert on leveraging social capital to market individuals and businesses. I will have accomplished my goal once I’ve been published in four magazines, chosen to speak at five conferences on the subject of social technology, and regularly receive over 150,000 monthly visitors to my site.
Without listing out objective items that will show you’ve accomplished your goals, it’s less unlikely you will accomplish something remarkable. While you may come close to your goals without listing them out, it’s possible that you’ll keep working because you don’t have the feeling of accomplishment without tangible items. Set your goal and write it down! Hang it on your bedroom door or somewhere that you’ll see it regularly and you’re moving in the right direction.