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5 mistakes made by experts

As a manager of experts I often get asked what I look for in an expert, what is it that makes someone stand out and recognisable as an industry or subject expert?

Why can one expert hold an audience while another just isn’t ever going to ‘make it’ in the media. The formula for becoming an expert is not simply an algorithm, and there are many different expectations placed on experts by varying stakeholders who want something from an expert. The public, the media, business, industry and government are just speed humps to becoming an expert in your field.

The truth is, being an expert is completely in the control of the individual. Expertise is bestowed on those who have experience, an opinion, an argument and supporting evidence or at least a supporting theory. Your power and influence as experts is always going to be subjective, regardless of your field. As consumers, we are cautious of some ‘experts’ but we are very comfortable with those who have influenced our lives over time.

And even when you’ve done the hard yards and developed your expertise, it is still possible to mess it up, lose your influence and stop making a difference. Here are the five mistakes most commonly made by experts which you can avoid:

  1. Not comfortable with being an expert

Being recognized as an expert in front of your peers and your industry is not for everyone. It does take a special person to want to be in the media frontline who also has personality, intelligence and charisma, without the ego. If you are not comfortable being the expert then you need to consider why, and if you can’t resolve that discomfort it’s probably time to move on.

  1. Lose touch with your industry or your audience

One of the major drivers for putting Media Stable together was the saturation of so-called experts still living on past reputation. I am a stickler for tradition but not when it is being used to the detriment of progress I have an issue. Wimbledon has wonderful traditions as a tennis tournament and part of the Grand Slam but the patrons attending shouldn’t expect 1940s conditions at 2016 prices. All experts should keep up with the times and deliver appropriately.

  1. Misuse or Misrepresentation of a brand

Have they sold out? It’s not that obvious, but the greatest tragedy for any expert is when their credibility, reputation or integrity is questioned and put at risk by those who have put trust in their brand. A great example of this is Shane Warne getting caught smoking a cigarette while representing an anti-smoking patch – it just screams fail on so many levels for both the brand and the personal brand of Shane Warne.

  1. Poor communicator

Academics are notorious for this. They are naturally the go-to persons when it comes to expertise but can lack good communication in terms of media. There are some academics who don’t see this as part of their role to communicate effectively and are reluctant to do so via the media. The best experts are those who have been at the forefront of business or represent brands for a period of time and want to talk to the media without any restrictions or limitations.

  1. Too comfortable

We as experts can get a little too comfortable and you will learn quickly that those with longevity in this space are constantly introducing a new brand or a new vision of what they are doing. The best thing you can do is to keep learning how to do things better? Who is your next audience and how you can improve? We should all be asking these questions and continuing to develop and never resting on our laurels.

In the effort to become an expert you will face more hurdles than the issues you will face when being an expert. So if you know the potential pitfalls, you have the solutions in front of you.

Ultimately we are all professionals, experts, authorities and leaders in our own right but it is up to us if we want to share our expertise, our knowledge, intellectual property and content. Keep working on your expertise and avoid the hurdles that stop you from being the best expert that you can be.

Nicholas Hayes is the Managing Director of Media Stable and co-presenter of Award Winning podcast Brand Newsroom

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