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What is Subject Matter Expert and Steps to Become good SME?

A subject matter expert in business (also known as SME) is an individual with a deep understanding of a particular process, function, technology, machine, material or type of equipment.

Individuals designated as subject matter experts are typically sought out by others interested in learning more about or leveraging their unique expertise to solve specific problems or help meet particular technical challenges. Subject matter experts in some fields often serve as expert witnesses in lawsuits and other legal actions.

Becoming a Subject Matter Expert

Typically, subject matter experts have developed their expertise in their particular discipline over a long period of time and after a great deal of immersion in the topic.

Many subject matter experts have pursued advanced degrees in their area of specialization. Additionally, the experts maintain a rigorous program of continuous study in their field. Many are active as authors, publishing books or articles on their topic. Others serve as educators in college and universities.

This additional work and study help ensure the SME individual maintains current and complete knowledge of their specific area of expertise.

While it is common to find SMEs in technical disciplines, experts can exist in all disciplines and functions. It is common to find SMEs in information technology, software development, marketing, and customer support and all other areas in a business.

Here’s how you can become a subject matter expert.

Build A Foundation Of Knowledge

To become an expert, you must first be a novice.

Start by educating yourself on the subject of interest. You won’t be able to fake it until you make it on this one. You’ll be sharing information with other professionals in the field.

Therefore, you MUST know the topic if you want to be recognized as a subject matter expert.

Continue Educating Yourself

It’s one thing to have majored in a particular area, but you need to know the latest happenings in the space to have a shot at becoming an SME.

Attend conferences, participate in Twitter chats and subscribe to industry publications.

You have to constantly stay updated with the latest information.

Try Out Your Own Ideas

To make it as a SME, you should have the ability to come up with your own ideas in the space.

The only way to do this effectively (and not get busted as a fraud) is to completely immerse yourself in the subject.

Make sure you test out these ideas before you advise others to put them into practice.

Participate On Social Media

You will be able to follow other authorities on social media and follow relevant hashtags to keep a pulse on the subject.

Also, leverage social media to market your expertise. Get involved in Twitter Chats or tweet along with live webcasts.

Start by sharing reputable information on the subject before interjecting your opinions.

Share Your Subject Matter Expertise

Beyond social media, you can start a blog or a podcast to share your knowledge and ideas regularly.

Take advantage of technology to get your message out. A YouTube channel is another option. If you’re not ready to commit to regular content, try hosting or co-hosting a one-off webcast.

Be open to questions so others can start to trust your information.

Be A Decisionmaker

You’ll have to work your way up to this one, but real-life practice will be the best continuing education you can get.

If you have the authority in your job to affect the outcomes of major decisions, you’re on your way to SME stardom.

Being an influencer will strengthen your value as a subject matter expert – and others will notice.

Be Genuine

Your company may recognize your knowledge is valuable to gain recognition in the market or even garner more sales interest.

But, to remain a go-to on your topic of choice, you need to remain neutral.

You want to be looked at as a true authority on the subject and not someone who is easily persuaded by the goods or services your current company is selling.

Your reputation is of utmost importance.

Jul 01, 2020 by Mohd Ali Saifi