Specialist, Expert, or Master – Which one are you? (part 1)

I was really impressed to see so many opinions on the facebook post I made a little over a week ago about a comment self proclaimed Branding Expert, Daniel Wagner made on stage at a business conference. He stated that “Expert” is a term that is not awarded, it is a title that is claimed and if you say you are an expert, nobody will question you. (to which I immediately questioned him) If you would like to read the opinions of the people who commented on this post, you can see it here: https://www.facebook.com/tophermorrisoninc (The post date is October 4)

Today’s speaking blog is a little bit different in that it could go way beyond just professional speaking. That’s my expertise, but I do believe that anybody who’s in a Solopreneur or entrepreneur would be able to use this information pretty easily and it has everything to do with a post I put on Facebook a few weeks back regarding a speaker by the name of Daniel Wagner who was talking about personal branding. He said that if you want to be an expert in something, you say that you’re an expert in something because the term “expert” is not something that you are granted. It is something that you claim and I took issue with that – big time.  If you would like to read the opinions of the people who commented on this post, you can see it here: https://www.facebook.com/tophermorrisoninc (The post date is October 4)

I think there’s three terms that from a branding perspective we need to be aware of as speakers, but perhaps even any type of entrepreneur and that would be the term “specialist,” “expert,” or “master” and I’m going to break this video into three parts over the next three days and explain what I mean by each of those terms.

Let me start with the first one, which is a specialist, which I think most people that are specialists label themselves as experts and it bites them in the butt a little bit later. Case in point, I was doing a workshop on media skills training. This was about two months ago and there was a gentleman there who said he was a media relations expert. His specialty was to go to companies and then represent them on their YouTube commercials or ads and whatnot, and the problem with that was he was actually atrocious with his on-camera skills. I mean, he was one of the worst I think I’ve ever seen. In fact, somebody called him out and asked what makes you an expert and he froze, he didn’t even know what to say. He was claiming that he was an expert, but in my mind he really wasn’t an expert, he was probably more of what I would refer to as a specialist.

A specialist, to me, is somebody who specializes in one particular service, but may or may not actually have the historical background to be considered an expert. So for example, anybody getting into business, if they want to specialize in one area, that’s great, but they call themselves a specialist, then if somebody calls them out, they don’t have to sit there and act like they know everything, because specialists don’t necessarily need to know everything, they simply need to know where to go to get the information. And I think he would have been far better off calling himself a specialist versus an expert. When I asked him “how many videos have you done for companies” and he said “to date, none,” it’s like well the reason why probably hasn’t had any is because his skills were really terrible and that alerted me to the dangers of people calling themselves experts.
I do think you can call yourself an expert, but I think you have to back that up and I’ll explain why that is tomorrow, but for right now, let’s just leave it as this: if you have anything less than in my opinion, probably anything less than ten years experience, my personal protocol would probably be anything less than twenty years experience in certain fields, you’re not an expert, you’re a specialist. And call yourself that and don’t mis-advertise or misrepresent yourself and you’ll probably be a far better off when somebody tries calling you out because then you don’t have to claim that you have all the answers.

I hope that works for you. Stay tuned tomorrow and I’m going to talk about what the hell an expert is and then the day after I’ll talk about what a master is, so hope you’ll enjoy those. Make sure once again you go over to facebook.com/professionalspeaking, “like” that page, then you’ll get updated every time I create a new video.  Also, if you’d like to get even more tips and tricks on becoming a professional speaker, check out my online speaker training. Go to http://www.bulletproofspeaking.com because the website is full of lots of great information with regard to how to run a business in speaking and also how to hone your platform skills either on the camera or on a live stage as well.  Feel free to leave comments on this post.  Let me know what you think.


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