We all have expertise in something. It may be a work skill, a hobby or a life skill. You may have detailed knowledge of your favourite book or film. You may have expert understanding of what makes others tick. Or of what makes you tick.
But we can’t all be experts in everything. Sharing our expertise with each other is a great way to help someone else out. To show how the things you know can benefit your colleagues, your family and your friends.
Together we can become greater than the sum of our parts.
Expertise as kindness
Sometimes we can be reluctant or shy to share our expertise. It can feel as if we are showing off or boasting about what we can do. As if we are suggesting that we are somehow ‘better’ than someone else.
Of course, there is a risk of coming across that way, but I believe it comes down to how you share your expertise. If you use a patronising tone or talk down to the person you are helping, that doesn’t come across well. Or if you indicate with body language, huffing and puffing that sharing with them is an inconvenience to you.
On the other hand, you can think about sharing your expertise as an act of kindness. Reframing like this is a way to use what you know as a way to connect with someone else. Together you can focus on a positive outcome and not get hung up on the mechanics of the sharing process.
What’s in it for you?
It can also be helpful to think about what you get from sharing.
- By talking through what you know or the skills you have, you are presenting the information in a way that makes sense to someone else. Not just inside your own head. This can give you a deeper understanding too.
- They are likely to have questions and will probably think about things from a different perspective. This gives you another angle that you may not previously have considered.
- ‘It’s nice to be nice’ might be a cliché, but that’s mostly because it’s true. Doing something for another person and having a positive impact on them also makes you feel good yourself.
- You might make a new friend or work contact. If they know you were helpful to them once, they will come to you again in the future. If they enjoyed the experience of learning from you, you will have created a connection.
This is a win-win situation.
3 ways to share your expertise
Here are some great ways that you can use your skills and knowledge to help others.
Help a colleague with a task
I recently heard about this great story from James Hobson, Skills Advisor from a charity that inspires and supports young people and adults to progress in learning and work.
James had volunteered to do an online presentation as part of National Apprenticeships Week. A colleague offered to help him develop and deliver the presentation. Her knowledge and skills in taking the information James wanted to get across and shaping it into a presentation was hugely helpful to him.
James told me: “Amy was so kind, without hesitation she simply asked ‘what do you need, how can I help?’ Her enthusiasm for the task meant that we could have a conversation about the content I wanted to cover and she could turn that into actual slides in much less time than it would have taken me. On the day of the presentation itself, we were able to work together to communicate enthusiastically about the opportunities that apprenticeships provide.”
As well as the benefit to James himself, the charity benefitted from this collaborative approach, as the presentation was created efficiently and delivered enthusiastically.
How could you help a colleague with a task where you have greater expertise?
Write a blog
If you are good with the written word, a blog can be a great way to share your expertise with a wider audience. When there is a subject you know well, you have an appreciation of how to break down the topic into chunks that are more manageable for non-experts.
I recently came across a brilliant example of a blog that made an area I know nothing about seem much less scary. Careers Superhero, Caroline Green, wrote a piece about things for young people to think about if they want to consider whether an apprenticeship or a degree is the right path for them.
As the parent of a teen, I find that the range of options available to young people now can seem overwhelming. Caroline’s blog acknowledges that there is a lot to think about and uses a friendly tone to explain what you need to know. It is both full of detail and calming in its simplicity.
And that’s the thing with writing about your own expertise. You can have a clearer view than someone who is new to the subject. You can cut through to the things that matter most.
What could you write a blog about?
Contribute what you know
Sometimes the expertise you have comes in the form of knowledge about a person, team or community. You may have understanding about their motivations, priorities and life experience that other people do not have.
By sharing what you know, you can help others to understand that individual or group better. This improved understanding could help them to build better connections or to have a better conversation about a tricky subject.
One of the ways in which you can share your expertise is to tell others about yourself. You are the expert in you. This can be useful in many situations, but I came across a powerful example recently when working for a client in healthcare. This film about Claire and Val’s experiences of personalised care demonstrates the positive impacts of seeing them as experts in themselves, rather than as patients who should listen only to the expertise of their clinicians.
Where do you have knowledge to share?
There are lots of ways to share your expertise, from becoming a mentor to running a workshop and volunteering for a charity to answering your friends’ questions on a night out. However you choose to share, you will be sharing kindness with others.
Use the comments or the ‘share you story’ button to tell me how you have shared what you know.
Until next time
Find out more
James Hobson is a Skills Advisor from a charity that supports young people and adults – you can find out more about Adviza on their website.
Caroline Green is an independent careers professional who supports millennials to identify, prepare for and get the job in their dream career. Find out more about Caroline and her company by visiting her LinkedIn profile.