Three myths of expert communication
Many experts are the most powerful influencers of their organizations. Still many of them find communication challenging. In the following, we’ll break three common myths of expert communication.
1. By simplifying things you reduce your expertise.
Wrong. It requires a special knowledge to simplify difficult things. You need the ability to look at these things from the recipient’s perspective. A great example of an expert who is good at simplifying complex ideas is Sixten Korkman, one of Finland’s most respected economist. He wrote a book Talous ja utopia (Economics and Utopia) about the national economy and economic policy. Korkman said that he wrote the book for his number one reader, his teenage grandchild.
According to Korkman, it is necessary to be able to write about important and complex issues so that as many as possible can form their own views on socially significant topics.
2. For an expert it is only worth communicating with somebody on the same level.
Wrong. Many experts find it meaningful and important to discuss with others than their peers. They can crystallize and put complex things and phenomena into perspective. Who would not respect a regional researcher like Timo Aro (@timoaro). He is very active on Twitter. His cartographic graphs help us to understand regional facts like the attraction factors of different regions or people’s political orientation. He is appreciated by the public, media and decision-makers.
The most appreciated experts are often those who want to share their expertise widely. By communicating actively with different audiences, the expert achieves the trust of the general public and strengthens his own expertise. An expert is recognized as a thought leader not only among the public but also other experts.
3. A commercialized content decreases expertise.
Wrong. Intriguing content is not commercial vanity and it doesn’t diminish your expertise. For a content like this you have to put yourself into the position of the receiver. If the content is boring or too complex, the audience will miss the point or just fade away.
An example of a specialist who is aware of the confrontation between expertise and sales is a doctor Tuomo Oikarainen (@tuomOikarainen). He focuses on customer orientation in health communication. Quoting Oikarainen on Twitter: “In annoying sales terms: The first and the most important thing when building a customer relationship is to create trust. Additional sale is possible when the patient finds that he/she is gaining value from the work of a professional and wants to buy more service. That is to get more help”.
If you are an expert and want to strengthen your expertise, step out of your bubble. Don’t hesitate to simplify things, or to communicate with various audiences. And don’t be afraid to sell your ideas and knowledge.
One day you’ll notice that your expertise is appreciated widely. People will recognize you as an authority in your field. You have become a thought leader.
Terttu is a talented brand builder and developer of communication and marketing. She wants to create better customer insight within organizations and firms and encourage them to have an open dialog with their stakeholders. Terttu has been working over 20 years in expert and manager positions of PR and marketing. She is keen on strategic planning, multichannel environment and employee advocacy. When not working Terttu enjoys cooking delicious food. Exercising any kind of sport, that is challenging enough, is balancing her life nicely.