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“Bob Burg opens the floodgates to Fort Knox.”

~ Dottie Walters, Author, Speak & Grow Rich

Effectively Communicating One’s Expertise

May 4th, 2012 by Bob Burg

Loaf of BreadA great friend of mine is an expert in his field. It’s a field that — while growing — is still under-the-radar in terms of mass consciousness. He writes and speaks about it but often feels as though his words are falling on deaf ears.

He also feels as though sometimes he comes on too strong in terms of communicating his message. He writes:

“I just hate sounding like a freakin’ know-it-all sometimes Bob. People must get really tired of me talking about this. Heck…most people don’t even believe it!!!”

I feel for him because I know he has huge belief and feels that — as people come to understand and embrace this — they, and the world as a whole, will be better off for it.

May I explore two points regarding my friend’s concern:

Minor point: our world is such that most don’t easily accept that which is different from their already-established beliefs. If and when these particular ideas are accepted en masse it will happen over time. Remember, it took “sliced bread” (i.e., “the greatest thing since…”) 20 years after it’s invention to catch on. So, enjoy the journey of educating and enlightening whomever you can, but don’t be attached to the outcome. Some will get it. Most won’t.

Major point: my general feeling is that people don’t mind being taught so long as they don’t feel the teacher is telling them that they have the “only real” answer…even when the teacher truly believes they have it.

That’s why, as “unfair” as it seems, the people who succeed aren’t necessarily the ones who have the exceptional idea, product, service, solution, etc., but are able to communicate it in such a way that others desire to receive it.

Esther Hicks writes, “Even in your rightness about a subject, when you try to push your rightness toward another who disagrees, no matter how right you are, it causes more pushing against. In other words, it isn’t until you stop pushing that any real allowing of what you want can take place.”

Yes, great influencers don’t push; they pull. And, gently at that.

35 Responses to “Effectively Communicating One’s Expertise”
  1. Carol Morgan said at 9:09 am on

    Thank you Bob for a very timely article. I enjoyed it.

  2. Bob Burg said at 10:03 am on

    Carol: Thank you. Much appreciated!

  3. Geneva said at 9:23 am on

    First post of my morning & it is EXACTLY what I needed. In this case…..I want to focus on the major & minor!
    As always…..
    Thanks Bob!

  4. Paul Castain said at 9:34 am on

    I agree Bob and would add that’s its really important for us to have lots of tools at the ready to help gently guide one by the hand.

    Things like . . .

    Stories that underscore our message
    Case Studies

    In some cases we might even want to challenge ourselves by asking “Who says so besides me?”

    Either way, the process should be subtle, gentle and respectful of one’s natural tendency to hesitate.

    Wishing you a fantastic weekend Bob!

    Paul Castain

  5. Bob Burg said at 9:49 am on

    Geneva: Thank you. And always great hearing from you! 🙂

    Paul: Yes, the tools are very important. And, all the wisdom you shared was excellent. Of course, that is why you are one of the premiere sales teachers. Thank you for sharing with us.

  6. Jack said at 9:49 am on

    How true and, as always, on target. This post is truly seminal, in that it is so central to communicating.

    Communication is a two way thing. It requires that we relate to the willingness and ability of the person or persons we are communicatiing with to listen. We wield tremendous influence on that, whether we are aware of it or not.

    Passion may get peoples’ attention, but if the message goes counter to thier beliefs, it will only gain negative recognition, and probably taint whatever cedibility we have.

    Thus, it is our ability to listen that determines how well we will be heard.

  7. Bob Burg said at 10:04 am on

    Jack: Thank you.Great wisdom and teaching in your comments. Right on and thank you for sharing with us!

  8. Doug said at 10:04 am on

    “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.”

  9. Bob Burg said at 10:07 am on

    Doug: Indeed, Mr. Carnegie’s famous admonition stands the test of time, doesn’t it?

  10. Kim Schuld said at 10:40 am on

    Thanks for this post. I often times feel like the best kept secert in town because my expertise is something that doesn’t strike people as important until AFTER they hear what I’ve got for them. Then they tell me that a 4-hour workshop isn’t enough time with me! I struggle with how to get in front of more people with a quick peek that makes them crave the expertise I can share.

  11. Susan Myers said at 11:14 am on

    This is the message I needed to hear today Bob, “That’s why, as “unfair” as it seems, the people who succeed aren’t necessarily the ones who have the exceptional idea, product, service, solution, etc., but are able to communicate it in such a way that others desire to receive it.”

    I will be working on how I communicate rather than what part.


  12. Bob Burg said at 11:36 am on

    Susan: Thank YOU. So glad you found the information to be of value. Please check back and let us know how things go.

  13. Bob Burg said at 11:28 am on

    Kim: Thank you. And that is certainly a legitimate concern. If I may suggest (and, of course, without knowing what you do this limits my ability to speak from knowledge rather than assumption), my initial thought is the combination of your developing an “army of personal walking ambassadors” who are introducing/connection you to those who would most likely be great prospects for you. And, developing a book, booklet, tool of some type that can be utilized to allow people to get a “taste” of what it is you do and be able from there to move to the next step. And, it’s incumbent upon you to be able to effectively communicate your message to those who are now in front of you and interested. Again, just a quick thought which might or might not apply to your unique situation.

  14. Ali R. Rodriguez said at 12:12 pm on

    I needed to hear this today. I’ve gone through that frustration myself and have to constantly be reminded to “let go of the orr.” and “curb my enthusiasm!” – Love Esther Hicks, wise woman she is. I’m enjoying watching her come into more of her power now that Jerry is gone, and her connection to him is even stronger.

    This is a powerful post, Bob. Thanks! ♥

  15. Bob Burg said at 1:32 pm on

    Ali: Thank you. I think most of us have gone through that frustration at one time or another and to one degree or another. Great lessons we can all learn from it. Thanks for sharing with us!

  16. Christie Ellis said at 2:14 pm on

    It’s funny…I always thought the louder and faster I spoke as well people would REALLY get what I was trying to “teach” them and they would really get it…that doesn’t work either 🙂

  17. Bob Burg said at 2:17 pm on

    Christie: Yes, funny how that works. Like the time I was in a foreign country and asked (in English) how to find the hotel. The person couldn’t understand my words so I knew exactly what to do…I said them louder. When he still didn’t understand I knew there was only one solution…to say them louder. And, when that didn’t work, I kn…

  18. Bob Burg said at 2:20 pm on

    As a follow up to that, after about six or seven times back and forth, he finally said, in perfect English, “Oh, okay, NOW I understand what you are asking. You just hadn’t spoken loudly enough until now. Thank you for making sure I understood your point by continuing to shout at me until I understood it.” (#NoThisNeverReallyActuallyHappened)

  19. Christie Ellis said at 3:19 pm on

    HAHAHAHAHAHA!!! yes…louder and slower is definitely a way to help people understand a foreign language. I do this all the time to my sister’s Mother In Law. My sister lives in Greece and her mother in law doesn’t speak English. So if I call the house and she answers I tend to start speaking Spanish. Not that she knows it it’s just not English so why not give it a shot. 🙂

  20. Phil B said at 3:47 pm on

    “Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do.” Marianne Williamson

  21. Bob Burg said at 4:24 pm on

    Phil: That’s a great saying by Marianne and I always enjoy reading it. I’m just wondering where you feel it fits into this discussion. Not a problem, just curious.

  22. Doug Wagner said at 4:59 pm on

    Hey Bob, you are so good at coming up with relevant posts and this is no exception.

    You are totally right. Unless you enjoy applying the approach used by people like Larry Winget “Its your fault” (and I do really do like his message and approach “for him”) you have to be both authentic and able to relate to your audience in a way they can get behind.

    This seems to be especially true for “its good for you” or “its good for your business” messages. For instance almost every business owner agrees with us with us that most business owners need to spend more time working on the business (strategy, processes, people, marketing, etc.) but when we go deeper they are “too busy” to do what is good for them as it requires work (yes you are right Larry).

    So in our case we are looking not only how to teach, but how to help people get past the information and actually implementing and practicing what they need; until it becomes the new habit. Information and technique is not skill until practiced after all.

    P.S. Maybe I should channel Larry in my client meetings.

  23. Bob Burg said at 5:17 pm on

    Doug: Thank you for your kind comment about the post. Regarding Larry, not many people beside Larry can pull that off LOL. And, as you said, his actual message ties into his personality so, by the very “nature of the thing” people who would be the most accepting of both his message and delivery are going to respond to him very positively. Larry is difficult to duplicate. LOL

    Doug, I think that for most of us it’s a matter of connecting an attractive message in such a way that the prospect(s) can immediately (or even over time) sense a strong benefit in their changing their thought process and/or actions. I believe you alluded to it very well in your above comments.

    Now, brainstorm with your team some ways you can do that very thing. And, watch some of the marketing experts out there who tend to already do that very well. Without copying exactly what they say and do (that, of course, would be improper as well as impractical) find a way to adapt their ideas into your business for the benefit of your clients (and, ultimately, your company). Thank you again for sharing with us. You always add greatly to the conversation!

  24. Doug Wagner said at 5:25 pm on

    Thanks Bob, that is helpful.

  25. Bob Burg said at 7:23 pm on

    Thank you, Doug!

  26. Linda Ryan said at 6:55 am on

    I can certainly relate to this post, Bob as I used to (and sometimes still do) struggle with “containing my enthusiasm” for my work. I find there’s a fine line between being authentically enthusiastic about what I’m sharing and coming off as crazed lunatic. Finding that balance is key to effectively sharing information about my product/service. Thanks for another great post !
    PS. Love the Abraham quote 🙂

  27. Phil B said at 7:26 am on

    Bob, the Marianne Williamson quote, and its meaning, seemed appropriate (to me, at least) to this discussion because when all else is boiled away, it speaks to a personal responsibility of sharing. And the sharing can/should embody knowledge, resources, techniques, inspiration and empathy and even personal passion. In light of your post, the trick is to figure out how to impart all those things gracefully so the potential for doing the most good for those who hear you…and the world in general…is maximized. And it seems to me that can’t happen by playing small. But it can happen by playing large and playing well.

  28. Bob Burg said at 8:18 am on

    Linda: Thank you. That’s a terrific lesson you shared with us. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with *having* that enthusiasm; the challenge is when it is uncontrolled with regards to communicating it. Wisdom and maturity is both knowing the fine line and acting appropriately/productively. Thank you, Linda!

  29. Bob Burg said at 8:20 am on

    Phil: Thank you. Very well said and explained. Makes a lot of sense!

  30. Lene Jytte Hansen said at 7:24 pm on

    WOW – GREAT article Bob!!!!
    You are SO right – If you speak out of a persons reality, they won’t “buy” into the idea, no matter how good it is. They have to come to that conclusion themselves. And if you touch basic believes people have it’s like pulling the blanket away under their feet, and they stand with nothing, and the new data is like “false data”, if you can follow my line of thinking.
    I love this not pushing but pulling gently.
    Thank’s bob 🙂

  31. Bob Burg said at 7:43 am on

    Lene: What a terrific way to put it. Great wisdom! Thank you for sharing that with us!

  32. Amy Wells said at 1:43 am on

    Still looking for my expertise….is love an expertise?

  33. Bob Burg said at 7:17 am on

    Amy: In your case, that’s something you communicate in everything you are and in everything you do, my friend!

  34. Chaitanya said at 3:55 am on

    Thanks for the enlightening message; most of us need it.

  35. Bob Burg said at 7:16 am on

    Chaitanya: Thank you for your very kind feedback!

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