How to Succeed when Talking to Experts

This article introduces three simple steps that can help you get the most out of your micro-consultation.

So, you find yourself in the company of your biggest hero, and you are dumbstruck, unable to string three words together in a coherent sentence. Your hero politely takes a picture with you, and you mutter something about how you love their work, but the next second, your hero is moving on, and your chance to get closer to them is gone. This was not how you figured this encounter should have played out, and hindsight kicks in. It is all very unsatisfactory.

There is a reason, why this is a recurring trope when it comes to pop-culture referencing fears and unpleasant situations. Everybody can recall an episode, where it has happened to them, but the good news is that this is easily countered. Considering the described scenario, it would have played out drastically different if you had prepared yourself, having established tangible objectives for the encounter, and moved specifically to achieve them. Similarly, when talking to industry experts in a time limited setting, you need to have a plan for what knowledge and insights you want to obtain, and then move to achieve that during your conversation.

Accessing better knowledge

Speaking to industry experts, high level consultants, and researchers, we have compiled a checklist on how you can reap the most benefits from accessing expert networks.

1 – Know what you are looking for
Before you engage with an expert network, it is important to decide what knowledge you are hoping to obtain. Do you want to know more about the price of a spare part in any given market, the experts you will want to talk to, are quite different to the relevant experts you will want to engage with, if you are to enter you product in a new territory. By knowing what you are looking to discover, you can both qualify and specify your scope, dramatically enhancing the possibilities of being matched up with the right expert.

2 – Maintain an open mind throughout

When engaging with an expert network like Knowledge Gate Group, you will be presented with a wide variety of industry experts. They will all be able to provide you with insights, but will also approach your questions from each their own personal angle. By keeping an open mind, this can lead to unpredicted gains for you and your company, and potentially counterweigh any inherent biases, qualifying the insights even further.

[…]the great micro-consultation is an amalgam of many factors, and you can create the optimal conditions for succeeding when talking to the experts […]

3 – Ask good questions and steer the conversation
Getting the most out of the micro-consultation with the expert, all depends on you asking good questions. When asking open-ended questions, the expert is encouraged to provide an elaborate answer. This is why you talk to experts, and provides the conversation with a natural flow. Asking good questions is a science and an art, and relying on frameworks like Karl Tomm’s Quadrants of Questions, can potentially help you design better questions. At the same time, you have a knowledge objective you want to achieve, so it is also up to you, to nudge the conversation in your desired direction, without pushing for a certain narrative. Some experts also suggest asking the most important questions first, ensuring they are discussed.

In summation, the great micro-consultation is an amalgam of many factors, and you can create the optimal conditions for succeeding when talking to the experts, by adhering to these three simple actions. Knowing what you are looking for, and what your knowledge objectives are, ensures that you are matched up with the right experts. Being openminded throughout the process can guard yourself against your own inherent biases, and might provide you with unpredicted insights. Finally, asking good questions, both to enable the expert to be their best self, and steers the conversation in your desired direction.

At Knowledge Gate Group, we know how much value the right expert can present to your company, and we are here to support you in achieving your knowledge objective. By being conscientious about your objective, you can prepare for any conversation, and avoid missing your chance, to have a meaningful conversation with your biggest hero.