How to Be Perceived as an Expert in Your Field

5 Steps to Boosting Your Influence and Authority

During a recent Launch Conference, my friend Ken Davis joked from the stage, “All you have to do to become an expert is read five books on the same subject.”

Everyone laughed. But in our get-smart-quick culture, it sometimes seems that way, doesn’t it?

Today, Ken is a bona fide expert on communication and public speaking, creating the SCORRE methodology that we—and thousands of others—rely on daily. But that hasn't always been the case.

During that conference, Ken went on to tell a story about when he was invited to speak to a group of professional salespeople early in his career. Though he didn’t have any personal sales experience, he was eager to impress the audience.

To prepare, he recounted how he read See You at the Top by Zig Ziglar and Life Is Tremendous by Charlie Tremendous Jones. He basically re-packaged their content and delivered it to the audience.

Everything went great. The audience loved him. In fact, it went so well, that after he finished, the event organizer invited him back to the stage to answer questions. That’s when it fell apart. Everyone suddenly realized he was a poser, not an expert.

Obviously, reading a few books doesn’t establish your expertise. It takes more than that. But it may not be as difficult as you may think. Like most things, it takes a strategy and an action plan.

Here are five steps you can take to be perceived as an expert in your field:

  1. Own it. Everyone is an expert at something. The problem is that we are unaware of it—or take it for granted. The key is to discover it and step into it. What is your expertise? You aren’t doing the world any favors by minimizing your expertise or trying to deny it.
  2. Declare it. Once you own your expertise internally, say it out loud:
    • “I am a writer.”
    • “I am a life coach.”
    • “I am a growth consultant.”

    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.

  3. Share it. Your expertise is a gift, given to you for the purpose of sharing with the world. You can express it in a thousand different ways: a blog, a podcast, a speech, an online course, coaching, consulting, etc. The important thing is to offer it up for the benefit of others.
  4. Prove it. Ultimately, the proof of your expertise in in helping others achieve the results they want to achieve. Once this happens, you want to ask for endorsements. These could be in the form of testimonials, customer reviews, or case studies. These all provide third-party validation.
  5. Sell it. Nothing establishes your credibility more than publishing or producing products that flow out of your expertise. Books do this, of course, but so do ebooks, online courses, keynote speeches, and coaching programs. In addition, they help fund your growth so you can reach even more people.

Your effectiveness as a leader is directly related to your perceived authority as an expert in your field. You can’t fake it. It has to flow organically out of your passion, experience, and competence.

Which of these five steps do you need to focus on developing next to increase your perceived authority?

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we use and believe will add value to our readers. We are disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

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