How to Become a Subject Matter Expert at Your AEC & M Organization

Everyone loves the team members who always seem to have the right answers. They’re incredibly knowledgeable on their subject of choice and always happy to share their skills to help others or benefit their organization. These employees help keep everything running smoothly!


Now, these people don’t just come out of a vacuum — they’ve dedicated a lot of time and effort to growing their expertise to that level. We’ve shared tips before on how to find and leverage subject matter experts at your firm, but what if you’re on the other side of this question? If you want to learn how to become a subject matter expert yourself, you’re in the right place. 


Start with these steps:

  1. Choose your niche
  2. Embrace constant learning
  3. Assess your strengths and weaknesses
  4. Decide how you feel comfortable communicating
  5. Approach higher-ups to make it official
  6. Outline expectations and duties
  7. Create your own content
  8. Welcome feedback from the team


Learn more about how to become a subject matter expert at your architecture, engineering, construction, or manufacturing organization below.


Choose your niche


If you’re already interested in becoming a subject matter expert, you probably have a niche in mind. Maybe there’s a piece of AEC & M software you know like the back of your hand, like Revit or AutoCAD. Or there are certain types of projects that you’re great at handling and problem-solving for. If there’s any topic where you’re basically already the go-to person your coworkers ask, that could be a hint! 


Embrace constant learning


The role of a subject-matter expert is to be a credible authority on their specialty. That requires constantly growing and updating your skills, especially in a rapidly changing industry (which AEC & M tends to be). Before you put yourself forth for a title like this, spend some time taking up-to-date courses and immersing yourself in the latest research. An expert-led e-learning solution like Pinnacle Series can help you brush up on the latest advancements in AEC & M.


Assess your strengths and weaknesses


Subject-matter experts generally know a lot about their field, but there are other skills involved, too (which we’ll keep expounding on below). How are your communication skills? What about writing, content design, etc.? Project management? Business strategy? What goals do you want to accomplish as a subject matter expert? This will help guide how you shape and personalize this role.


Decide how you feel comfortable communicating


If you’re becoming a subject matter expert in addition to your current role, it’s important to think about your boundaries and communication preferences. Are your coworkers free to call or message you at any time of the day with questions? Do you want to set up “office hours” where you’re available for them? Will you host talks and exercises with the team to help them master a pertinent topic? Or would you rather take a more distant role, where you’re mostly creating content about the topic instead of interacting one-on-one?


Approach higher-ups to make it official


Once you have an idea of how you envision your subject-matter-expert role, it’s time to go from idea to execution! Talk to your manager about expanding your role and what you can offer in what capacity. Depending on the company’s needs, it might be just a few extra responsibilities or a total shift in your role on the team.


Outline expectations and duties


This will flow as a continuation of the discussion you started above. What will be expected of you as a subject matter expert? Will you be asked to consult on certain types of projects, be available to teams that need you, liaise directly with clients in your arena, or produce a certain amount of research per month? Is this going to be a formal or informal role?


Create your own content


If your company has a shared knowledge management platform, it’s a simple matter to publish useful information as a subject-matter expert. Maybe you’re a good writer who can create clear documents and guidelines, or you have some video editing or course creation skills. Whatever the case, creating content is an efficient way to share your knowledge with as many people as possible. Instead of having the same conversation with multiple people, you can point them to the resources you’ve created. 


Pinnacle Series makes knowledge sharing easy, with a dedicated subject matter expert role that lets you create and publish resources on the subject you “own.”


Welcome feedback from the team


Subject matter experts aren’t perfect. Make sure your team knows that if they spot a place in your resources where information could be expanded or something isn’t totally accurate, they can point it out! Or if there’s a resource they’d like you to create, like an FAQ document for a particular topic or project, they can request it. Maybe some of them have knowledge of their own to add or are interested in collaborating with you to build something new. Invite opportunities to make it a group effort.


Now you have a basic blueprint for how to become a subject matter expert! Pinnacle Series can help subject matter experts share valuable knowledge with their organizations – if you’re a current subscriber, log in now to start taking advantage of our custom content and knowledge sharing features!


If you aren’t a current subscriber but are interested in seeing how Pinnacle Series can help supercharge knowledge sharing at your organization, our team can set you up with a demo or pilot of the platform today.


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