There is a big market for people with deep subject matter expertise. As an expert you have valuable context and information that can help others including understanding areas such as market dynamics, leading practices and lessons learnt.
The following are some tips on how to improve the likelihood you are sought out, and for making any engagement worth your while.
How to get found and choose to participate:
Keywords are important to be discoverable
Ensure that a range of keywords reflecting your experience are included in your LinkedIn profile so that you can be found more easily. For example, what are the topics that overlap your experience with industry and global issues? Just a role title and organisation make it very hard for people to understand your focus area.
Understand what’s important to you
Many providers will pay you an hourly rate, but you should consider if monetary compensation alone is valuable to you. Other providers (Accelerated focuses here) will also enable you to increase your knowledge by sharing a summary of the project’s findings, usually informed by 5-15 experts like you, or potentially introduce you to other experts if you are interested in extending your own network
Be available to validate and authenticate yourself
Respond to outreaches and be prepared to offer up short answers to some screening questions to confirm your fit with the specifics of a project. A good sign is when you are engaging with someone knowledgeable and experienced who can quickly assess your fit for the research brief. A warning sign is when you engage with someone very junior who acts as a mailbox between you and their clients.
Having a positive interview experience:
Make sure you are ready to participate at the time agreed. Double-check you know the format of the meeting and how to dial in as there are a range of platforms available
Confirm context and objectives
If you are unsure of the overall objectives or areas for discussion make sure you ask so that your valuable time is used effectively
Take your time
Check you understand any questions that might be unclear and frequently pause so that your interviewer can seek clarification or introduce a new topic
If a video call has been booked, turn on your camera if possible. It helps build rapport and improves the one-on-one conversation flow
Share only what’s appropriate
These conversations are not meant to get you to divulge confidential information and you should keep to the research areas that were outlined.
Obviously, if the conversation goes down another avenue and you are comfortable with it, proceed, but don’t let an interviewer push you to provide information you aren’t comfortable sharing.