So You Think You’re An Expert?

I meet some extraordinary people in business. Real masters at what they do; the kinds of people everyone turns to for advice. Sure; they’re experts all right.

But media have a different view of what makes an expert. There’s an unspoken criteria they need filled before they’ll accept you for a story or interview. In fact; you may be the world’s leading expert at what you do; but unless you meet the criteria, journalists just won’t speak to you.

The same goes for public speaking. You need the back story and credibility that tells the audience and conference organisers you’re supremely qualified to share your opinions.

It’s easier for academics to prove they’re experts. They teach at a university – tick. They have a title such as Professor or Doctor – tick. They’ve had papers published – tick. And they’ve probably spoken at a few recent conferences – tick, tick.

But what if you’re in business for yourself? How do you prove you’re someone worth listening to? Media need a quick indication you’re a good bet. They don’t have time to research or read your CV. They just need to hear a few of the criteria.

I have a little quiz I use when talking to prospective clients. I call it The Expert Litmus Test. Usually they’ve called me because they’re an expert wanting to step up to a new level. They might be expanding their business or promoting a book or event. The person I’m talking to usually knows their subject very well. But will anyone else agree that they’re an expert? I created this list to help me recognise when I’m talking to an expert who media and the public will acknowledge and believe in.

Take a look and see how you score:

¨  Have you recently spoken at conferences or given any public talks?

¨  Have you recently published a book?

¨  Do you run workshops in capital cities?

¨  Do you write a popular industry blog; are you considered an opinion-maker?

¨  Are you on any industry bodies or major boards?

¨  Have you consulted to government or major companies?

¨  Who are your clients? Do you have testimonials from any well-known clients?

¨  Have you received international acknowledgement or worked overseas?

¨  Have you recently won an award?

How did you go? If you’ve ticked two or three of these, the good news is, you’re on your way to becoming the kind of expert media want to talk to.  Did you fall short? Don’t worry! Now you’ve got the golden list that shows how to get that credibility.