“An expert is someone who has succeeded in making decisions and judgements simpler through knowing what to pay attention to and what to ignore.” – Edward de Bono, Born May 19, 1933.
If you want to be perceived as an expert in your field, the way to do it is not by actually accomplishing things or getting results.
While those things are fine and admirable, most times they are invisible and don't actually generate the perception in people that you have active, applicable expertise.
So how can you portray it?
What people can really use expert advice for – in almost every case – is to help them contextualize and prioritize their information, so they can make better decisions in reaching their goals.
So if you want them to see you as the expert they need, you just have to give them shortcuts. Help them sort out what they should focus on, and what they can completely ignore.
The ignoring part is the big one, though. Fretting and worrying over something really can wear you down and make you exhausted.
But when an expert you trust can relieve you of that worry – can tell you with good reason why you can ignore that agitating aspect, you feel like a burden has been lifted.
One less thing to worry about can drastically increase a person's enthusiasm and productivity.
And if you're the one hacking that simpler path for them with your machete of knowledge, then you get the credit – and become a relied-upon source for expert advice.
Which is a pretty good gig.
So how do you find these shortcuts? Experience is the big, obvious way. Research is another. A lot of times, you can focus solely on looking for wasteful mistakes they might be making. These are fairly common and easy to spot.
Start by helping them find things to stop doing, to skip over, to ignore – this starts making their lives easier, but most importantly – it gives them the gift of extra time.
And with that extra time on their hands, they start wondering what they might be doing instead that would help them achieve their goals even quicker?
And who might they think to ask for help with that? Good thing you have something they can buy for that, right?