If you want your audience to take you seriously, you need to be able to demonstrate your expertise. This is true whether you’re giving a speech, writing a book, or just marketing and advertising your business. When people notice and acknowledge your expertise, they’ll be much more likely to trust you and work with you – as well as recommend you to others.
The question is, how do you reliably and effectively demonstrate your expertise to your audience?
The Many Forms of Expertise
What is expertise to you? Is it simply a measure of the amount of knowledge a person has? If so, anyone who went to school for a long enough time should be considered an expert in whatever they studied, even if they have no practical experience. Is it simply a measure of experience? If so, anyone who’s been in an industry for 25 years should be considered an expert, even if their skills and results are lackluster. Is expertise a matter of achieving a certain result, such as making a specified amount of money? If so, you’ll be labeling at least some flukes as being the result of genuine expertise.
Realistically, there are many different facets of expertise, and to demonstrate true expertise, you need to show off all these facets and more. You need to prove that you’re knowledgeable, experienced, capable, and reliable.
How do you do it?
How to Demonstrate Expertise to Your Audience?
These are some of the most important strategies for demonstrating expertise to your audience:
- Invest in aesthetics. Before anything else, it’s a good idea to invest in aesthetics. While in a perfect world, we would all judge each other only for objectively measurable, valuable traits, in the real world, most of us make snap judgments about others based on how they and their products look on the surface. For example, perfect bound book printing can instantly make your printed material look more professional. A better designed website can instantly make your content looked more credible. Dressing up and tending to your personal grooming is going to make people more likely to believe that you’re a true expert.
- Show off your credentials. If you have credentials in this area, show them off. For example, do you have a degree in this field or a specific certification that is generally accepted as valid? What personal achievements can you cite to prove what an expert you are?
- List your affiliations. Similarly, it’s a good idea to list your affiliations whenever convenient to do so. What major clients have you served in the past? Which partnerships and organizations are you a part of? Have you partnered or worked with other important experts in this industry? Are you highly regarded by other industry professionals?
- Reveal information most people don’t know. It’s easy to prove your own expertise when you’re constantly teaching people things they never knew before. Original research is one of the best options here, since it provides people with information they can’t possibly get elsewhere. Cover topics that aren’t commonly covered by general writers or non-experts.
- Talk about common problems and rare solutions. Another key strategy is to talk about common problems and rare solutions. Speaking to common problems faced by your target audience broadens your potential appeal and instantly forges a connection. Offering rare solutions immediately differentiates you from non-experts and shows the depth of your knowledge simultaneously.
- Speak at major events. If you can, try to get public speaking roles at major events related to your industry or area of expertise. If you’re featured as a public speaker enough, your reputation will naturally swell – and you’ll be able to list these appearances as affiliations in future efforts.
- Connect and collaborate with known authorities. An appeal to authority is a logical fallacy, but connecting with other known authorities in your space is a great way to prove what an expert you are. For example, consider working on a book with other experts or hosting a podcast with them.
- Demonstrate thought leadership. To be considered a true expert, you should be able to execute thought leadership in this field. In other words, don’t just regurgitate what other people are saying; be the first person to say something – and don’t be afraid of controversy.
- Reference your personal experience. When writing or speaking, always reference your personal experiences. If you have three client stories to tell for every point you make, people will naturally believe you’ve been doing this for a while.
If you’re able to sufficiently convince your audience that you are an expert, you can do just about anything. You can sell them a product. You can win their loyalty. You can convince them that investing is worth it. You might even get them to share some of their own expertise. It’s an indispensable persuasive move that can serve as the foundation for almost any reasonable goal – and now, you understand how to do it.