Being an “expert” in any field is an interesting thing. You have the people who look up to your expertise, and others who say they “know just enough to be dangerous”….aka they know just enough to be annoying.
When I worked in project management, I was never an expert — if someone questioned why something was done a certain way (which typically required an expert to answer), I’d politely tell them that I’d find out and get back to them.
So, as I’ve begun working to become that Digital Marketing expert, my ideas are the ones being questioned. At first, I took it personally — my mind automatically went to “what do you mean, you don’t think my idea is great!? I’ve dedicated a lot of time and effort into learning everything there is to know about digital marketing. Just take my word for it. I know what’s best”
And that was extremely childish of me.
I started to learn that having my ideas questioned are opportunities to sell them, and showcase my expertise. 99% of the time, the questions come from a place of ignorance..and I mean that in the nicest way possible.
Me: We should really ramp up our hiring solutions on LinkedIn
Them: Why? I’m never on LinkedIn, why would anyone else be?
Me: Studies show that LinkedIn is the number one professional networking site, and two new members sign up per second. And LinkedIn users tend to be much more affluent and educated than members of other social media sites.
Them: Wow, I had no idea, let’s move forward.
This is a very simplified example, but provides insight into what I’ve discussed before…the curse of knowledge. A year and a half ago, my initial thought would have been, “It’s LinkedIn, of course you want to use it for hiring”, but the curse of knowledge explains that as experts we’re so ingrained in our field of expertise, that we forget that most of the world hasn’t spent hours and hours doing the research that we can pull out of our back pocket in seconds. Think of the guys from the “The Big Bang Theory.” That’s the curse of knowledge at work! The concept seems obvious when you think about it, but experts tend to forget.
My advice? If you have a specialty, in whatever field it may be, don’t assume, always be prepared to pitch, and demonstrate empathy..which is easily the best trait anybody can have. Not everyone is an expert like you are. 🙂