People often ask me the following questions: “Am I qualified to do this? Would they consider me an expert?” They tend to ask these questions before introducing their expertise, knowledge, skill or trade to a new audience who may judge them more critically. I most often hear these questions from colleagues who are embarking on a professional speaking career or have been asked to serve as a panelist or present workshops on select topics. They immediately begin doubting their abilities to deliver their knowledge or draw upon their skills. In my opinion, women deal with this uncertainty of their qualifications than men.
I’ve asked myself the same questions in the past — seeking reassurance about a natural gift or ability I already possess. What qualifies me as an expert on something I can do effortlessly? How do I place a value on this?
So what makes someone an expert in their field? Merriam-Webster defines “expert” as “having, involving, displaying special skill or knowledge derived from training or experience.”
To further define “expert” I recommend using these five elements:
1. Understand that you were uniquely created with a message, skill or talent. This automatically qualifies you as your own subject expert. This is number one.
2. Does your message, product or service have gravitas (substance or “weightiness”) that you can stand upon, making you a credible expert? Have you delivered something in the past that gives your presentation or service weight? If you lack substance, people will not listen to you.
3. Is your message, product or service something people can implement?
4. Does your message, product or service directly address the “pain point” of an individual, group, organization or society with specific solutions, tangible outcomes?
5. Do you believe in yourself to confidently deliver on these things?
If you answered “yes” to these five items, my dear, not only are you your own personal expert, you are also a qualified industry expert. I can share with you these five points because I am also an expert. My next recommendation: Boldly go forth and share your expertise with us! We are waiting for you.
Nicole D. Hayes desires that girls understand their worth and know their identity. Nicole is the Women of L.E.A.D.E.R.S.H.I.P. 1ST Director whereby she communicates the activities, goals, messages, mission and vision of this women’s leadership division. Women of L.E.A.D.E.R.S.H.I.P. 1ST was inspired based on Nicole’s passion to empower and restore women through a global platform in partnership with the talents of other women who share the same passion, varying talents and embody the L.E.A.D.E.R.S.H.I.P. 1ST core leadership traits. In addition to this role, alongside her brother, Nicole is also the co-founder of Pieces of Life, LLC a media relations consultancy based in Washington, D.C. Operating with a company and personal mantra of “making an investment in people,” she serves nonprofit organizations and small businesses desiring media visibility, but lack in-house expertise or budget to hire a full-service agency. She also has a background in broadcast journalism and uses that outlet to address issues for homeless persons and other disenfranchised women, individuals.