How to Maximise the Output from an Expert Interaction
Updated: Jun 3, 2020
Using Expert Networks to access deep industry knowledge has become an important part of the research processes in both the investment and the corporate worlds. And we understand why!
After all, who doesn’t love to have an external view on a sensitive question that requires very specific expertise? It’s fast, efficient, can spare you weeks of laborious research, and is a great way to broaden your personal and company’s network. If you are not a user yet, you should consider trying, but be careful, it’s highly addictive!
But, have you ever found yourself feeling like you could have benefited more from a call with an expert? As if the interaction was good enough to answer your interrogations, but maybe didn't reach the in-depth perspective you were looking to get.
We are here to show you how to go from a good Expert Call, to a fantastic Expert Call.
New users or Veterans, here is the best way to make the most of an interaction with an expert.
How to Maximise the Output from an Expert Interaction?
1. Pick the right profile
The first step is to carefully select the expert you wish to interact with. We could think the task easy, we just choose the most senior right? Wrong!
Senior individuals are great experts, after all, they have made it to where they are for a reason.
But they have specialities and focus on certain aspects of their business. Senior executives can often have a more generalist view on a topic for which a more junior individual would be incredibly knowledgeable about, due to his focus on a precise aspect of his speciality, the speciality you actually want to learn about.
To best select the expert you wish to interact with, you need to rely on the Expert Network to provide a detailed background and summary of the key topics in where their expertise actually fall. For example, here at LB Networks we provide a detailed and bespoke approach that will give you a great overview of the knowledge the expert can share, and will connect you to one of our team members to gather more info.
2. Have a list of questions
This one might be the most important in this article. The interaction with an expert is going to be extremely value additive if you are well prepared before. For doing this, one of the best ways is to write down a list of questions and key points you want to discuss.
This is where communicating with your team is very important, ask, brainstorm, and define the knowledge targets specific to the interaction with this expert.
This will maximise the value you will extract. Knowing your specific requirements will focus the conversation avoid any oversight, allowing maximum output. It will also help the expert to give precise pieces of knowledge relevant to your challenges, instead of broadly discussing the topics.
To make it even more effective, you can share this list of questions and key points with the expert before actually interacting.
Don’t be afraid of going in depth when doing so, the confidentiality between Clients and Experts is a core point of the compliance process for Expert Networks. This will allow the expert to prepare beforehand, and optimise the answers given to you.
3. Benefit from the Expert's Background
Expert Networks will provide you with different profiles, and every expert is likely to have a varied and specific background.
Taking advantage of this background is a good strategy to uncover value and gather information you had not thought about when you decided to interact.
An expert is an influential figure in the Start-up world, but has also held executive positions at large corporations, or is a marketing guru in the US but has been active in China, background possibilities are endless.
Asking extensive questions about it can broaden your perspective, uncover pain points in other markets than the one you’re focusing on, and make you identify opportunities or red flags.
4. Validation of previous research
A decision making process is a heavy assumption-based process, the stakes are high and whether you make the right decision or not is going to have a deep impact on your business.
Validating your research with Expert consultations is a great way to reduce the uncertainty and the risk around a strategic decision.
Using industry leaders to gather knowledge is good, but you have the opportunity to go further and ask them to validate your ideas, to give you strategic recommendations and even to challenge those ideas by pointing issues that come to their minds.
Having access to expertise in any situation, from people with various skill-sets and mind-sets will bring fresh and new thought processes you might not be able to find internally.
5. Use the time
This point may sounds obvious, but you wouldn’t believe the amount of client-expert interactions that end before the time is up.
Expert Networks will provide you with a certain amount of time with highly skilled individuals, make the most of it!
After going through all the topics and questions you listed, if you have some time left before the end of your meeting, don’t stop the interaction here. Instead, ask more about the expert’s background, why he chose this particular path, what his thoughts on your industry are, or about his professional perspectives for the future.
These are only a few broad topics to fill the rest of the conversation, but the possibilities are limitless, and they could uncover questions you hadn’t thought about, or simply allow you to network in a more informal way than the typical ‘Question & Answer’.
Which brings us to our last point…
6. Leave the door open
Expert interactions can lead to great partnerships!
Always leaving the door open with an expert can be a great way to find a future consultant, adviser, venture partner or even new talents for your company.
Here at LB Networks, we can facilitate both short and long term interactions.
Instead of approaching every call as a one-off consultation, try asking yourself if a longer term partnership would benefit you, perhaps it wouldn’t, and that’s fine, but leave the door open, you might find the best fitting profile to face a recurring challenge.
These tips will maximise the value you will get from any expert interaction, if you wish to try them on a live project, let's connect.
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