How to become an expert in anything in specific – quickly!

Sometimes talking to experts can be intimidating if they use jargon of their area of expertise and their knowledge and skill level is much higher than yours in a specific area of a discipline. There is a way to prepare for these situations. The goal is to know enough to be able to ask smart and educated questions and have a meaningful conversation about the topic.

My uncle Eino Tunkelo, a professor in physics, gave me an advice when I first left for the US: Ask a lot of questions.

This advice was obviously to help me integrate with the community and become fluent in the language. This advice forms now a core of how I prepare for meetings.

Here is my recipe:

1. Select a topic you need to be an expert in. This could be a preparation for a meeting, study for an exam with specific topic or persons that you are about to meet and their companies. Topic should be as narrow and clear as possible, but can contain overlapping areas to study.

2. Open a document and write down all the questions you would ask an expert. Here the advice of Sergeant Major Kallio applies: there are no stupid questions, just stupid people that do not ask questions. List of questions does not need to be complete, but you need at least one question to start with.

3. Start figuring out the answers to the questions and write them down in the same document. Find the answers by googling, follow leads, look up meaning for words you don’t know and concepts you don’t understand. You’ll end up going through many sites like wikipedia, companies, universities, youtube videos, dictionary pages etc. All these resources will explain and you can answer your questions from step 2.

4. When you run into new questions from the step 3, go back to step 2 and write the questions in the document, then continue with step 2 and figure out answers to these.

The result is an intense but very rewarding process of research, detailed FAQ reference document and clarity of an expert, so that you can have an intelligence conversation on any topic you choose. You don’t need to be one of those people who don’t ask questions nor one of the people with undeveloped questions…

Use this wisely and reserve enough time. Less you know about a topic, more time you will need in order to get the basics right and details in place.

The above process works great with acquiring knowledge relatively quickly and becoming an expert in order to converse any topic with other experts. The above process is not the best for learning a skills. Learning skills quickly is possible, but that requires a different kind of process, which I’ll cover in another post.

Enjoy becoming an expert quickly in any topic you want.

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