All of us have knowledge, expertise, and experience that others can benefit from. This is one of the reasons we play some of the roles in life that we play: leader, trainer, teacher, coach, mentor, and more. We all can contribute to otherís success with our expertise. Unfortunately, some things keep us from doing this as successfully as we could.
This article will outline several of the things that get in our way and suggest ways to improve our ability to succeed in having our expertise used successfully by others.
Here is a fundamental truth - most of us donít recognize how much we know. When weíve done something for a long time, or read about an idea in 21 places, we assume everyone knows that information. This just isnít true! Our familiarity and deep understanding gets in our way, because we assume others know what we believe to be obvious.
The first key to getting your expertise used is to proclaim it to yourself. Recognize that what you know is significant and valuable. Without this recognition you wonít know what to share if asked.
Before you go too far down this ďMan, Iím smartĒ mental path though, recognize that arrogance is the next stumbling block. Certainly, we need to recognize our expertise. Of course we need to value what we know.
But none of this makes us better than the other person. My advice? Lose any budding arrogance.
When we are arrogant about what we know, our advice is more about an opportunity to show what we know, than it is about genuinely helping others. When we are confident we can focus on the other personís needs. Be confident in what you know and always be willing to learn more.
Focus on being generous but helpful in your knowledge sharing. By remaining confident in your knowledge and keeping your focus on the other personís needs, you will have your attitude in the right place.
Often the challenge we have in sharing our knowledge and expertise is that we donít really remember what it is like to be a beginner in this area. Even once we recognize the value of what we know, we take shortcuts in explaining it to someone else.
By using jargon or skipping what seem to be obvious steps.
In order for us to successfully transfer our knowledge, or teach someone what we know, we must break the steps down. We must share each piece of information one step at a time.
We have learned this information and so can others. But we must teach them from their perspective, not ours Ė remembering what it felt like to be a beginner.
Connect the Dots
My daughter loves to color and has many coloring and activity books. One of the activities found in many of these books is something I used to call a ďDot to dot.Ē In a dot to dot puzzle, you draw straight lines from point 1 to point 2 to point 3, etc.
By looking at the page before you start to connect the dots, you canít really tell what is going to be drawn. You may have some clues based on how many other lines and related pictures exist on the page, but until you complete the puzzle, you donít really know what you have.
Our expertise is like that. We are asked to share what we know with others for their benefit. What our job really is is to set a context and provide a bigger picture for them. Telling them the steps or the procedure or the technical components of something isnít enough. They need to know the situation the environment, the surroundings. They need to understand the relative priority and importance of the various things you are teaching them.
As the ďexpertĒ you help them complete their own mental puzzle by guiding them in connecting their own dots.
Making these connections is how we will be most successful in having our expertise valued and used by others. And you can only connect these dots when you have the other three barriers reduced or eliminated for yourself.
Your success will expand as you expand the success and capabilities of others and the lessons of this article can help make that happen.
Kevin Eikenberry is a leadership expert and the Chief Potential Officer of The Kevin Eikenberry Group. To receive a free Special Report on leadership go to http://www.kevineikenberry.com/leadership.asp.
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