“Experts” versus specialists

26 Feb 12 upload 024 (2)

The other day I tweeted in exasperation: “Hate the word “expert”. None of us knows everything. We specialists do know how to find out what we don’t know when asked to.”

I don’t know about you but many people who try to sell me their stuff try to impress me by telling me how good they are at what they do. That may be true, but I want to know how they are going to solve my problem and make me happy. I am not going to be swayed by how pleased they say another customer of theirs has been. If I knew that other customer and he or she had made a recommendation without pressure from the seller, I might take this person more seriously.

Of course the self-proclaimed “expert” does not know everything there is to know about a subject either. However if he believes his own hype he may not think too much about my problem and come up with the wrong answer or solution.

I had a difficult technical issue to do with my business recently. I “phoned a friend”, and she gave me an answer instantly, but actually I had less confidence in her answer than if she had paused and audibly thought the problem through. Sometimes we all need to think about a problem rather than assume straight away that we know the answer.

I specialise in a certain field, but I do not have an instant answer to every question posed. In my area of business I know how to find out the answer for my client, and when asked I might think I do have an instant solution. However, unless it is an issue with which I am totally familiar I would rather take a deep breath and think before responding, and my response might be “I will consider this and get back to you”.

Describing someone as an expert is misleading. Most of us know quite a lot about our area of business, but not everything. I think we specialists should stick together honestly against all those “experts”. Don’t you?

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