Like many autodidactic web workers out there, I never received a formal indoctrination in my various fields of expertise. Sure, I learned some useful things in college, but there’s a wide gap between my education and my professional ability. Realizing this, and the fact that I learned at least half of my professional disciplines on the job, I came up with this list of three things you need to be an expert in just about anything.
1. Knowledge – Know What You’re Talking About
This one’s just common sense. In order to be an expert, you have to have expertise. You have to know your subject inside and out. If it has some sort of functional application, you must also be able to work with it. Without knowledge, you can sound like an expert, and people may even regard you as such, but you’ll inevitably give yourself away as a fraud.
2. Confidence – Regard Yourself as an Expert
Knowledge is not enough without the confidence to apply it. That is, you can’t just have the right answers; you have to trust that your answers are correct. Often, this means you have to fail a few times. That’s fine. In fact, it’s something most experts go through in their professional development. Learn from your mistakes and use those experiences to build confidence.
3. Voice – Get Others to Recognize Your Expertise
Knowledge and the confidence to apply it are enough to be an expert. Without voice, though, you’ll never be recognized as an expert by your peers. You’ll be a master of your subject, but never a leader in it. To make that leap, you have to make your opinions heard. Join in the discussions of your niche. Pioneer new advances and ways of thinking. Publish well-thought-out opinions on current and emerging trends. As others hear you, you will garnish a reputation as an expert.
Granted, there are plenty of so-called “experts” out there who lack one of more of these three things. Beyond what I’ve listed, however, is there anything else that you need to be an expert in anything? Share your thoughts in the comments below.