Archive for September, 2011

So Who Made You An Expert?

Back when I was a reporter, covering the U.S. District Court for the Tulsa Tribune, the late Judge Allen Barrow used to shake his head whenever an attorney introduced an “expert” witness. After listening to all the qualifications, Judge Barrow would sigh theatrically and ask the witness where they were from. “Well,” he’d say after hearing the answer, “I guess that’s about 25 miles. Did you bring a brief case?” The witness, of course, would say yes, and Barrow would say, “Well you came more than 20 miles and brought a brief case. I guess that makes you an expert.”

Experts were important, however. During one trial, the expert witness turned the court into an economics classroom for two weeks and swayed the jury. The result of that trial is that you can run to the ATM if you’re short on cash. (If you really want to read about the case, click here.)

In today’s frenetic, media-hyped marketplace, your expertise should be a major part of your reputation and business strategy.  Demonstrating your expertise can lead to a jury verdict in your favor. In the marketplace, that’s a sale.

Establishing your reputation and expertise is something advertising can’t do, but it’s a key part of the public relations toolbox. Your PR counselor can work with you to establish your expertise.   Do you have academic credentials or years of experience? Have you ever published an article in a trade journal or been quoted in a newspaper story? Do you teach about your area of expertise? You, too, may be an expert.

Sharing your expertise with the right people in the right way improves your reputation and credibility. It’s a way to establish a relationship and trust. Those who accept your expertise will be more likely to do business with you. How you present your expertise will have a lot to do with the decision they make.

If nobody knows what an expert you are, it’s time to tell them. You’ll need to do it in a credible, entertaining way. The good news is that you don’t have to travel 20 miles and carry a briefcase.

Talk to your public relations counselor about establishing your expertise. Or call me. You can ask me what make me an expert when we talk. I’m definitely going to ask you that question.

September 23, 2011 at 12:22 pm


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