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Building expertise among professionals!

Kunal R. Sarpal 
on 10 February 2015

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Why expertise is a must.

In a sentence, “If you are general, you are dispensable.”

We live in an era of the fast internet, impatient people, quick results and a friendly neighbourhood genie called Google. The other day at the family doctors clinic, I took my sister for her cold treatment. The doctor with his usual paraphernalia checked her and prescribed the requisite medicines. While he was doing so, I suggested a few medicines I knew for cold and voila! The doctor had written the exact same medicines. We had a stare down and at that point of time, the doctor realised that I have exposed him. His clinic was thriving only because of a few ignorant patients who were not able to do a bit of reading and research before knocking his doors.

On reaching home, I did some thinking and it was an eye-opener when I realised that, most of the patients that frequent him are wage earners and construction labourers, who far from us are very ignorant when it comes to things like these, especially medical issues. This was on account of their educational inequity and their needy lives. What was disappointing was the ignorance of the well-to-do or the so-called-well-to-do.

This led me to thinking. In my law practise over the course of time, if there ever come a Kunal to visit me, will he catch me this vulnerable? And this thought scared me. If you’re a professional, no matter which industry to which you belong, you, if mediocre, would harbour this fear.

This brings me to a panacea. A remedy. A cure literally. But this is like homeopathy. It will take time, but if done right, it will take the disease out, right from its core.

So, are you ready to have it?

Reading this far I presume a logical yes. And the answer is EXPERTISE. Being a sicko at what you do. By sicko I meant, having a sickening work ethic.

Cool bro, but how do I get or develop this?

1. Do what I am doing just now. WRITE. And WRITE OFTEN. And WRITE OFTEN IN THE AREA WHERE YOU WANT TO BE PERCEIVED AS AN EXPERT.

Simple and self explanatory. Provided you are in the field you love and are wondering on how to get started. Start writing in your field. Write about the new developments, about the new strategies the big fishes in your field are using, about the latest books people should get their hands on, book reviews of the books you’ve read, tips to grow in the stream and so forth. This lends you the required maturity and the grey haired wrinkled eye writer image, and as image precedes you, makes sure your writing is authentic, like the way you speak and puts a smile on the readers face and makes him go, ‘yeah! That’s a lovely tip’

Of course, there will be politics and nepotism but a good article eventually finds its course.

Your blog, fb page or whatever online social repository you maintain should be the go to site when there’s a query on the subject. If you get this right, you won’t ever have to market your product or service. A senior at law school mentioned, writing a book is the most epic way of being considered as an expert and when it get publishes, you achieve the coveted AUTHOR status. (Is author short for AUTHORity!) I sure hope so.

2. CONDUCT WORKSHOPS/SEMINARS

Okay. For this, you will require considerable experience & knowledge. Here, you are not behind a computer screen or some other veil where you can hide or scout behind when the going gets rough. When you conduct a workshop, for an hour, a day or two days or more, you are engaging a live audience and showing them your gift. I have often seen people yawing at workshops for which they have paid heftily and are sparing their precious time. How can you do this to them? Why kill their precious Sundays?

Conducting a workshop is a write-up which i will cover some other day. When you get this art right, you will soon be known as D PERSON of the profession. Please note, only established and legendary professionals are called upon to conduct and deliver workshops (sponsored, that is)

3. READ ON YOUR FIELD DAILY 3-4 hours.

This is one tip i definitely swear by. A non-compromise point. Of all the successful professionals I have met read at-least an hour everyday in their field, via digests, industry magazines and industry websites. Remember, there is no such thing as ‘too busy’, it is all about priorities.

Repeat all of the above, extensively. Of course, there are numerous other methods. Remember there is a difference between an expert and projecting yourself as an expert. If you are one, you will not need to project yourself as one...if will automatically happen.

Expertise like all good things takes time, effort and consistent dedication. Give it time, on an average 6 years and let me know how you fare.

The time of Kirana shops SERVICE has long gone boss, now is the area of specialists shops.

Happy developing expertise,

Yours devotedly

Kunal R. Sarpal

I Practise Corporate and Intellectual Property law in Pune and am a Partner in White Collar Legal LLP.


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