If you’ve been a part of the workforce for any period of time, you have at least some level of professional expertise. You’ve got a certain unique set of skills, knowledge and experience that makes you an asset to your organization.
But what are you really doing with it? Are you hoarding it away like a squirrel stashes nuts? Are you saving all that goodness for yourself? Are you using your expertise to further your own career without ever considering how it might help others?
I know it sounds a little odd, but your expertise is a powerful gift that deserves to be shared. It’s yours, yes; you earned it. But why keep all that wisdom to yourself? Why not send it out into the world to be free and lift others to new heights as well?
And the best part? Sharing your expertise not only helps others in their professional endeavors, it also helps you. Here’s how…
1. It engrains what you know.
Nothing helps deepen knowledge as effectively as sharing it.
2. It expands what you know.
Sharing your expertise means inviting a new conversation. If you keep your eyes, ears, and mind open, you may learn something in the process as well.
3. It establishes your reputation as an authority.
If you want to be seen as a leader in your field, you have to stand up and be vocal about what you have to offer. But instead of telling people you’re an expert, give them a taste in a way that helps raise their level of expertise too.
4. It increases your professional value.
When your expertise helps the entire team, you become a more valuable part of it. Your presence is worth more the organization—and that can translate into tangible rewards and real dollars.
I know what you’re thinking: “That’s great Chrissy. But I don’t want to look arrogant!”
Let me address this right now. If this is what you’re thinking, it’s time to shift your perspective. Sharing your wisdom with the people around you is not an activity born from the ego. It’s about being of service. It’s about them, not you. Giving, not gloating.
Here are a few ways to share your professional expertise comfortably and easily.
1. Become a Mentor
There’s no shortage of young professionals looking for guidance. When you see a newbie with potential but in need of support, take that person under your wing. Share the hard earned lessons you’ve collected over the years.
At the same time, keep your eyes, ears, and mind open. After all, the best part about mentorship is that—when it’s a strong partnership—both people learn equally. As a mentor, you’ll gain a new perspective about the work you do. Your mentee’s youthful inexperience can actually provide you with a wealth of powerful insight…if you’re open to it.
The written word is always a wonderful tool for reaching others. Consider writing an article for a publication catering to your industry or profession. Or start a blog! Nothing is more empowering than putting your thoughts out there for the world to see. The Internet attracts a global audience and I know from experience that the connections you make can be life (and career) changing.
Plus, as a published author—whether online or in print—you’re automatically afforded a certain level of authority. It seems strange, but writers are presumed to be experts (sadly, even if they have no clue what they’re saying).
My point, however, is this: A few bylines can quickly elevate your professional visibility and shape your reputation as a leader in your field. Just be sure that whatever you put into writing is something you stand by wholeheartedly and are proud of…because it creates a permanent record that can and will follow you for the rest of your career.
3. Train Others
Offer to present on a topic of interest at a local industry conference or meeting of your professional association. Host a lunch and learn event at your company. Present what you know with confidence, in a way that engages and enlightens your audience. Remember not to talk “down” to people; as the instructor, part of your role is to tap the wisdom in the room. Open the conversation so others can share their expertise as well. Don’t presume you’re the only one with something to say.
Training others in any setting, big or small, will help boost your public speaking skills (incredibly valuable for any profession) and position you as an authority. Just like writing, standing in front of a room creates automatic credibility.
4. Be a Resource
When you read an exceptionally helpful article, stumble upon a useful new piece of information, or find a more effective way of doing things, don’t keep it to yourself. Each and every day, you likely have something worthwhile to share that could be beneficial to your colleagues. You don’t have to wait for a formal training session or explicit request for help. Instead, simply shoot off an email to your co-workers that says something like:
“Hey guys, I found this article really helpful. Thought you might enjoy it too.”
“Not sure if you guys knew this, but I just figured out that XYZ software has this really cool hidden feature! Here’s a step-by-step on how to use it just in case it’s new for you too.”
Imagine if one of your colleagues did this for you. How would you feel? How would you view that person? Your small gesture can positively influence someone’s entire career. It’s definitely worth the few minutes required.
5. Take the Lead
If you have special expertise that could be beneficial to a particular task or project, don’t be afraid to take the reins. I often see highly experienced folks who don’t want the responsibility of leadership, so they sit back and keep their mouths shut. Then, after the project is under way, they slowly let it be known that they have expertise that could have been helpful but no one listened to them…Oh poor victim!
Don’t make people beg for your help or insight. Volunteer it. Step up and offer to guide the ship if you know you’d make a good captain. If you have something to contribute, get out front. Just remember that the best leaders encourage everyone on the team to share their expertise too.