Just read about a very interesting study: Some physiotherapists in the US were worried about the lack of sustained compliance to the prescribed exercise regime among their clients (mainly sufferers of stroke). After some interviews with patients, they found that while the stroke sufferers understood the basis of their physicians’ expertise and authority, they didn’t know the physiotherapists’. In response, the physiotherapists displayed all their diplomas and certfifications on the office walls, and compliance jumped by 34%.
The lesson from this is that for expertise to have a persuasive effect, it must be exposed clearly, otherwise people simply don’t know to give you any creedence. (I’m assuming the article I wrote made valid conclusions) I think this phenomonen is especially important for those working outside the tradiitonal professions without recourse to diplomas and certificates. When I look at a biography or profile, I make assumptions about expertise based on things like length of experience in a particular sector or a particular function. But I have little concrete validation.
I think the MBA has a role to play, as a signifier of expertise. (It has other roles too e.g. a testament of your commitment and work ethic, practical vocational knowledge etc.) I suffer from an English trait of minimising my expertise in a matter. I have a tendency to speak about something without mentioning the depth or quality of my experience and knowledge, instinctively shying from what might seem like self-aggrandisement. It looks like if I am to increase my persuasive power, I need to find ways to expose my expertise while still not seeming like a self-important prat – it’s a fine line.