What makes a good expert?

Watch our Google+ Hangout, “What makes a good Expert?”

Posted by · April 8, 2013 9:05 am

What makes a good expert?

Four of our Most Valuable Experts joined the Roundtable to explain how to be a valuable expert, and they advice they gave was inspiring but frank.

The Experts all agreed that the most important characteristics of a good expert are to be thorough, don’t obsess over points, and be coachable.

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Great experts take the time to develop an answer.

“They go out of their way to do that little bit of extra to make sure the asker or other Experts are being properly served,” said Mark Wills (mark_wills), who came up with the idea for the MVE program.  “Those are the ones that best represent the community values.”

He emphasized that the most important thing to remember is that the person who asks the question doesn’t know what they are doing, and that they might need help figuring out what they need in the first place.

“They may not be all that aware of how to ask the right sort of question,” he explained.

Ingeborg Hawighorst (teylyn) commented that a common rookie mistake on the site is rushing in to answer a question to garner the points instead of creating a quality answer.

“Trying to be competitive… and being hasty with an answer instead of being concise and taking the time to really understand what’s going on and… what the asker wants,” she said. “That makes an awful lot of difference.”

Additionally, she mentioned it’s easier to take your time with creating a complete answer once you relax about achieving points.

“The importance of points slowly decreases the longer you are participating,” she said.

The third distinct trait of a good expert that will catch others’ attention is being humble and willing to learn. Even though you may be an expert in an area, there is always more knowledge and more efficient ways of communicating answers.

“If you don’t bring humility with you, someone else with ten million points is going to snap it to you,” said Michael Munger (DrDamnit). “If you are the kind of person who can’t admire the brilliance of the other people you’re going to see on the site, you might get a little frustrated for a little while.”

 

What makes someone a good expert?

Specifically, what makes someone a good expert on Experts Exchange? With thousands of technology professionals from all over the world vying for points, it’s important to step back and look at the ingredients of a quality answer.

We’ve assembled four of our Most Valuable Experts to share their thoughts on the subject in a live Google Hangout on Wednesday, April 24th at 3:30 pm PDT. Visit our Google+ page to save the date on your calendar, or you can just tune in to our YouTube channel on the day of the event to watch the conversation live.

MVE Roundtable Google Hangout

MVE Google HangoutQuestions for the MVEs?

Do you have a question about participating as an Expert on Experts Exchange? Submit your question in the comments below or on our Google Hangout event page, and we’ll try to ask it during the MVE Roundtable.

  • techgal

    Thanks so much for talking about what makes a good expert. Having tentatively been dipping my toes in the expert pool, I was relieved that it is ok to NOT be about the points. And I agree with the experts that doing a good job of communicating an answer that helps the light go on is the best reward. Someone once said you do not master a skill until you can teach it to others. So I think of my helping others as a way to reinforce my mastery of my skill set. Thanks for the clues to being a good expert. See you out there!

  • Mark

    @techgal “Good Answer” emails must surely be coming your way 🙂

    “you do not master a skill until you can teach it to others” that is so very true !