Identifying subject matter experts could be the difference between exquisite content simplicity and complexity in motion when it comes to building an exceptional curriculum for your organization’s humans.

We can all agree that design simplicity is crucial for knowledge exchange. Our duty as workplace educators is to assist individuals in achieving success in the workplace. Our subject matter expert plays a significant role. Their task is to be completely knowledgeable about the subject. Their expertise enables the company to operate at peak efficiency.

Now comes the important question. How do you incorporate the right amount of information from the subject matter expert into the training content?

Prior to diving into the six tips, consider the roles of subject matter experts and how they see their environment and their function within the company. Take a minute to reflect on the fact that their perspective will be fundamentally different than yours. Your objectives will differ, your perspective on business requirements will differ, and your method of resolving those issues will differ.

Keeping this in mind, here are six tips to assist you in developing your relationship with your SME.

subject matter experts

Active Listening

Developing your active listening abilities will benefit you in all aspects of your life, not just when it comes to working with SMEs. Your subject matter expert may appear challenging in your initial encounter due to their passion for the subject.

If this is your first time partnering with an SME, begin by breaking the ice and establishing common ground. Share success stories or tales of adversity. Consider what they are communicating to you and why.

Bear in mind that active listening entails concentrating on the words and demonstrating both verbal and nonverbal indications of listening. Take note of both what is not said and the content of the words. This emotional connection will improve your capacity to comprehend the perspective of your SME.

Don’t Make Assumptions

As with any collaborative effort, minimizing assumptions will bring you closer to your objective.

Our instincts lead us to expect that SMEs will share our general outlook. We expect the SME will agree, as both of you have the organization’s best interests at heart.

However, studies on a cognitive bias known as the “false consensus effect” indicate that we dramatically overestimate the degree to which others concur with our views. As a result, when we assume agreement with the subject matter expert, we actually go closer to confrontation, which leads to the “us versus them” mentality.

The trick is to ask pertinent follow-up questions: “I believe I heard you say…” or “Can you explain why this is significant?” This will bring both of you closer to your objective.

subject matter expert

Eliminate Communication Barriers

To ensure open and honest conversation, communication barriers must first be eliminated.

Determine your communication preferences and reach an agreement that works for both of you. It cannot be overstated how critical it is to adjust one’s communication style to one’s SME. A good place to start is by determining your SME’s emotional state towards the project — is your SME happy, excited, annoyed, or even angry about working on the project? You will need to modify your communication style as a result.

As with active listening, do not listen exclusively to what the other person is saying as you speak with one another. Pay attention to the emotions conveyed by the words. Understandably, SMEs are enthusiastic about their subject. Recognize their passion and collaborate to explain objectives.

Embrace Disagreements

Conflicts can be healthy! Avoid allowing the first big disagreement to result in the termination of the contract. Instead, educate yourself on healthy conflict resolution approaches.

Discuss both the facts and your feelings about them. Be receptive to learning why your SME is so passionate about particular information, visuals, or processes. It’s simple to self-sabotage the relationship by attempting to gain influence over the other person. However, be as sympathetic as possible in understanding the other person’s actions. Allow yourself to change your opinion if you find you’ve made a mistake and swiftly apologize.

Collaborate And Compromise

Compromise is frequently given a bad reputation in the workplace. However, there are instances when we must compromise to do the necessary work. In this situation, let us define compromise as “individual commitment to a group endeavor to accomplish an agreed-upon goal.” It does not have to be a win-lose game.

When you and your subject matter expert work together to reach an agreed-upon solution, you both combine ideas and energies to create something bigger than the sum of its parts. Maintain a balance between your personal needs and the needs of the SME.

Bear in mind that your SME has worked diligently to attain the level of knowledge they possess; recognizing this will get you further than focusing exclusively on being right.

Establish Expectations

There is nothing wrong with setting ground rules for collaboration. Establishing expectations with your subject matter expert will guarantee that everyone is on the same page.

  • Understand that your project may not be the SME’s primary focus. Ensure those clear guidelines for communication and collaboration are established.
  • Create a collaborative space to minimize meetings and respect the time of one another. To communicate information, utilize applications such as Evernote, Google Docs, or other project management software.
  • Confirm that everyone understands the deadlines and review cycles. Obtain buy-in from the SME and create a schedule with agreed-upon review dates.
  • To minimize misunderstandings, keep meeting notes on a shared document.

roles of subject matter experts

Coordinate Better With Your Subject Matter Expert With Watchdog Business Tools

At the end of the day, both you and the SME want the same thing: to assist employees in performing at their best. Because people are people, this requires some negotiation and establishment of ground rules in order to accomplish those goals. Utilize these six tips to assist you in navigating your project’s journey, and you’ll experience increased success rates with your content and SMEs who are truly interested in working on projects.

Scorecards, offered by Watchdog Business Tools, allow you to choose, hire, and collaborate with the best SME quickly.

They are really simple to use and extremely effective. All you have to do is meet up with your candidate, video conference with them, or email them the questions. After they complete the questionnaire, you will receive a score if they are qualified.

You may then make objective judgments regarding their skillet’s ability to assist you with accomplishing your goals. You’ll be able to compare interviews and select the SMEs that will best help you grow your business, depending on their ranking.

Learn more about Scorecards from Watchdog Business Tools.

You might be interested in a related blog post: “Grow Your Business More By Hiring Outside Help