Perception Matters: Tips on Being Seen as an Expert in Your Field

expertYou’ve put in years of work to grow into your leadership role.

You’ve invested time and resources, you’ve learned from your failures, you’ve mentored others and now, you’re at a point in your career where you’re ready to share what you’ve learned.

But what if you’re not perceived as an expert in your field? In many ways, perception is reality—your reputation will help you grow your business in many ways.

But if you’re not one of the first people who comes to mind when people are looking for an expert, you’ve got some work to do.

One person who’s well-known as an expert on leadership (I mentioned him in a post just last week) is best-selling author Michael Hyatt. He wrote about how to be perceived as an expert in your field, and said it’s not as difficult as we sometimes make it out to be.

In his post, he outlined five steps to being seen as the expert in your field—and in my view, the first four are an excellent foundation:

Own It

The first step is to really understand your own expertise. After all, if you yourself don’t really believe in it, you won’t be able to exude that aura of expertise to anyone else. Sit down and think through the reasons you should be considered an expert. What have you done? What do you know?

Declare It

Now that you’ve convinced yourself you’re an expert in your field, you’ve got to say the words. Are you an expert in the printing industry? Are you an expert on leadership? Tell people—there’s no one who’s better suited to spreading the word than you. Hyatt writes, “Whatever it is, speaking it is the first step in realizing it. In addition, put it on your business card, your website, and your official bio.”

Share It

If you want to really be recognized as a leader, you should develop the habit of sharing your leadership unselfishly. Mentor someone coming up in your field, start a blog where you share expertise, give speeches. Do what you can to help others benefit from your experience.

Prove It

Once you’ve shared your expertise, find out if people have been able to benefit from what you’ve shared. If they have, ask them to vouch for you in the form of testimonies or customer reviews—and if they haven’t, maybe it’s time to reevaluate your methods for sharing your expertise. Because what others say about your expertise will go much farther than what you yourself say.

What do you think: Are you interested in being seen as an expert in your field? What steps are you taking to pursue a strong reputation?