Raising The Bar For What It Means To Be An Expert In 2024

Published 3 months ago
By Forbes Africa | Gary Martin-The writer and professor is CEO of the Australian Institute of Management Western Australia and a workplace and social affairs expert
Businessman Signing Digital Contract On Tablet
"...true experts continually learn to stay updated in their field."(Source: Getty Images)

As we progress further into 2024, a year guaranteed to be full of complexities and uncertainties, the heightened demand for genuine expertise to guide us through our challenges will become more important than ever.

The dilemma we face is that too many people are in a rush to claim their expertise, making it increasingly difficult to discern genuine or real experts from those who are still learning the ropes.

In today’s era of digital self- promotion and personal branding, the term “expert” is thrown around like confetti at a wedding celebration raising the question: do all those who lay claim to the title genuinely warrant it?

Advertisement

So-called experts are everywhere. Individuals self- assign this once prestigious title along with others like coach, consultant, and specialist to impress others, attract fresh business prospects, gain speaking opportunities, or boost their book sales.

A novice cook who decides to share a few recipes on a blog declares himself a culinary expert. A traveler who describes his own limited experiences on a social media platform promotes himself as a world travel consultant.

A person who successfully quits smoking for a few months positions herself as a “quit smoking coach”.

There’s also the individual who completes a coding bootcamp and subsequently calls herself a software development guru, the parent who has raised four children who markets himself as a parenting expert, and the former manager who proudly identifies as a management specialist.

Advertisement

And in the age of social media, many individuals with modest followings or experience in online marketing present themselves as digital marketing gurus. They may offer expert advice on growing one’s online presence, yet that expertise often lacks a solid track record of successfully driving results for clients.

Perhaps even more common are individuals who have made their own personal fitness transformations who brand themselves as fitness experts.

While their dedication to personal fitness is commendable, true fitness or coaching expertise involves a deep understanding of physiology, nutrition, and personalized training plans.

It seems that the whole idea of being an expert doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve dedicated your life to mastering something these days. It’s more like a jacket you can throw on, and it seems like anyone with a tiny bit of knowledge can wear it.

Advertisement

Put simply, being an expert has become a trendy label, applied to anyone with a hint of knowledge.

So if you need the services of a true expert, and you want to gauge the extent of an individual’s expertise, what might you look for?

True expertise isn’t simply being one step ahead of your neighbors on a particular topic. It’s about knowing more than most people in a particular field.

Becoming an expert usually requires substantial education or training, thousands of hours of practice, and a deep understanding of the subject.

Advertisement

And true experts continually learn to stay updated in their field.

Some also regard experts to be those individuals who not only have extensive knowledge and experience in a particular area – but who are also effective communicators who can explain complex concepts to others, making their knowledge accessible and understandable. For those seeking to become experts there are also some considerations.

While, the internet often promotes the notion of instant expertise, genuine greatness is a product of ongoing effort and unwavering commitment.

It means that those on the path to becoming experts must resist the urge to assert their authority prematurely.

Advertisement

It’s also important to recognize that true authority should be conferred upon them by others who recognize their expertise rather than being self-proclaimed. None of us get to call ourselves experts. It’s a term best applied by others to describe an individual’s accomplishments and expertise.

In other words, you can’t claim the expert title yourself. Only when others label you an expert, does it become a reality.

As we start a brand-new year full of challenges, issues, and opportunities, we don’t need more experts but we do need more apprentices or those willing to take the time to develop expertise. If you are finding yourself in need of guidance or expertise, look out for those who embody the principles of unwavering dedication, continuous learning, and a proven track record.

In a world awash with self-proclaimed experts, let’s champion those who have truly earned their stripes, and in doing so, let us collectively raise the standard for what it means to be an expert in 2024.