• Lynne Christensen

FOUR SECRETS YOUR SUBJECT MATTER EXPERTS WANT YOU TO KNOW

Updated: Feb 10



Precious Knowledge That Improves Team Performance

Have you ever noticed a great divide between your marketing department and the scientists working in research and development? Most often, the answer is a clear yes. It doesn’t have to be this way and there are strategies used to avoid this dangerous brick wall. Departments should work together for the overall success of the firm. Teamwork should be intuitive and encouraged by senior leadership. This article describes four secrets that Subject Matter Experts around the globe want their colleagues to know. Embracing this information will provide a better perspective on how to bring the science to the customer.


A Subject Matter Expert is simply defined as a person who is exceedingly knowledgeable in their field. They are found in a wide range of industries and departments, however this blog posting focuses on Subject Matter Experts working in the scientific research and development department. It’s not unusual to find Subject Matter Experts working on laboratory experiments, advanced mathematical/engineering calculations and product testing.


Subject Matter Experts want their colleagues to know these secrets:

Secret #1: Subject Matter Experts have families, friends and feelings too.

The research and development department is not an inhuman, robotic place where orders are processed by machines. It’s important to remember that Subject Matter Experts have families of their own, an active group of friends plus personal joys and worries. Laboratory results are not automatic; rather they are the product of painstakingly detailed work that can take people weeks, months or years to perform. Often times, Subject Matter Experts are introverts and do get caught up in their intense work. Understand that it takes a lot of energy, focus and education to know how to run advanced scientific experiments or put together screeds of research data into understandable summaries. Many times, this focus translates into solitary hours at a computer or in the laboratory. Subject Matter Experts need quiet time and an ergonomic workspace to make sure that this happens. Realize that they’re only trying to do their jobs correctly and produce a high level of integrity and accuracy in their work.


Secret #2: Rushed research leads to lower quality products.

Sales managers should not rush scientific experiments, papers or testing simply to meet quarterly sales projections. It’s a dangerous workplace indeed where steps are skipped and scientific questioning is cast aside in favor of boosting a company’s short-term revenue. There is always a lot of pressure to get new products out to market so they can start generating revenue. It is critical, however, to ensure that the science and research supports what is being made available to the customer. There is ample information available on the Internet today. Customers are used to doing a lot of pre-purchase homework before committing to a specific product or service and expect companies to have their research and development work in order before advertising a new product for sale. Companies are wise to let the public know their products have been rigorously tested; this reassures customers that the products offered goes beyond marketing hype.


Secret #3: Subject Matter Experts need to proof your draft marketing materials.

Yes, it adds another person or few to the review team, however their insights are invaluable. Creativity is not limited to those working at advertising agencies. Numerous times a Subject Matter Expert has used research experience to catch errors on draft brochures, suggest new product variations and even help improve the bottom line. Did you know that often times during the proofing process computer software glitches can randomly shift numbers, subscripts, superscripts and even obliterate blocks of text? This is why proofing is so important. Be the team that catches these mistakes; do a thorough proofing each time and make sure the right team members are looking at the document before you move on to the next draft. Don’t ignore valuable knowledge. Make it second nature to include Subject Matter Experts on group lists and ensure everybody understands their valuable contribution. After all, everyone benefits if product specifications are represented in the most accurate format possible.


Secret #4: Subject Matter Experts would love to discuss their work with you.

Long gone are the days where the research laboratory or complicated mathematical analysis was hands-off to anybody but the experts. Today’s business world includes a high degree of collaboration. It’s important. Good Subject Matter Experts are well aware of this fact and they are delighted to share their knowledge and help other departments. Let the Subject Matter Experts know that their work is valued and colleagues are interested; in fact, it quietly encourages them to continue producing excellent work. It’s amazing how far a friendly question will go. If your team finds this difficult, then consider outsourcing the go-between role to an empathetic, experienced writer who can share the Subject Matter Expert’s experience in a non-jargon format with the rest of the team. Don’t let white lab coats, beakers or complicated reports scare you away from asking relevant questions. Most importantly, refer back to secret number one. Subject Matter Experts have valuable knowledge and companies are wise to integrate it into product development, sales cycle and communication strategies. After all, a company’s product or service is only as good as the sum of its parts and yes, this means its people.


Share this blog article with anyone who needs a better understanding of how Subject Matter Experts can help companies succeed.


 

Ready to learn how to use Subject Matter Expert knowledge in your communication materials? Contact Northleo Writing Inc. today: studio@northleowriting.com

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