When I was discovering all about credibility and what it takes to be “the expert”, I had a conversation with my friend Con.
I explained that no one really feels like the expert even though we see them as one. He decided to put that to the test in “The Great Expert Experiment”
This is what he found out…
The Great Expert Experiment
Here’s a little social experiment you can try on your own.
Find someone whom you consider to be an “expert” in what they do, maybe it’s someone at work, perhaps it’s one of your friends or family, and ask them a simple question:
Do you consider yourself an expert?
If they answer No, ask a quick follow up question: Who DO you consider to be an expert?
If they agree they are an expert, ask “Who else do you consider an expert?” and then go and ask THAT person if they consider themselves an expert.
You’ll be amazed at the results.
In June 2014, Business Communication expert, Con Dolmas, conducted this experiment with a group of highly skilled technology experts working at a New York Stock Exchange-listed multinational corporation.
The team had recently completed a mammoth system implementation and were in the process of assisting hundreds of employees across the country to maximize the benefits of the new system.
In the eyes of the corporation CEO and senior leadership team, these people were system experts.
In the eyes of employees around the country who were reaping the benefits of the new system, these people were not only system experts, but they were the only experts they trusted to help them resolve their system issues.
So how do you think these highly-respected experts responded to the question, “Do you consider yourself an expert?”
Perhaps surprisingly, they all answered NO.
But here’s where it gets interesting.
Each team member was then asked to nominate someone who they believed WAS an expert, and 80% of those surveyed nominated another member of the same team!
So in the eyes of their colleagues, their customers and their managers, these nominated individuals were considered experts. However, from their own perspective, they didn’t feel confident enough to acknowledge their own expertise.
When they were presented with these results and asked why they didn’t believe they were experts, they all responded in a similar way.
…because they each felt there was someone in the world who was “better than they were”, and therefore THAT person was the expert, not them.
They each felt they couldn’t possibly be “the expert” because there was someone in the world who they considered to be better than they were in this area of expertise.
So despite the overwhelming evidence suggesting each person surveyed was indeed an expert in their own right, they each felt that simply because someone else knew more about the subject than they did, or had more experience in this area than they did, then they couldn’t possibly be “THE expert”.
At the conclusion of the experiment, when they were ultimately presented with all the findings, every member of the team eventually acknowledged, yes, they too were an expert in their field of endeavor.
So why the change?
Simply stated, they now felt confident enough to wear the badge labeled “expert”.
They didn’t have to be “THE” Expert” just “AN” Expert.
By shifting their mindset to acknowledge their own skills, they started to feel confident enough to admit to themselves “Yes, I am an expert”.
The shift started to occur when they acknowledged that simply because someone else may know more than they do about a subject area, that doesn’t make them any less worthy of being an “expert”.
So what does this all mean?
Simply stated, being a credible expert starts with having the confidence to acknowledge your own expertise.
So let me ask you a question…
Do YOU consider yourself an expert?
Con Dolmas helps online trainers find their authentic voice to create engaging training. Con Dolmas specializes in making voiceovers sound natural & engaging. His voice and delivery style have been described as Friendly, Conversational & Believable Caring & Empathetic, Knowledgeable, Informative & Authoritative.
Con is the author of "Voice Over for eLearning – The Essential Introduction for Online Trainers" and the corporate training narrator for multinational organizations including Microsoft, Vodafone, Telstra, Symantec, ANZ Bank, K-Mart & Novartis Pharmaceuticals.
With 15 years of professional business services (change management, business & financial analysis) across a diverse range of high-profile organizations, including QANTAS, Unisys, Optus, Vodafone and Kellogg’s, Con has a strong track record with copywriting, e-learning script writing, documentation & workshop facilitation.
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