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I have considerable knowledge in the business and technology of my field (supply chain and planning), from 7 years experience and from having a Ph.D in a closely related field. Although my colleagues are aware of my qualifications, most of my work consists of run of the mill software development. Occasionally they will come to me with math or stats questions, but I am never consulted on any of the big design decisions or strategic questions which I know I am qualified to weigh in on.

Recently I started blogging on topics in my field, and my blog posts have been very well received - with people from all over the world reaching out to me for advice on problems they are facing in this field and recruiters reaching out to me because they are impressed by my knowledge. Moreover, a couple of colleagues who read those blog posts complemented me on them, and mentioned that "Wow in your blogs you seem like you know very well what you are talking about".

Not only that, but my responses and discussion in online forums and social media groups are frequently very well received and up-voted.

And yet I am rarely invited to weigh in on these questions, and the few times I was, my opinion wasn't taken seriously (for example an outside consultant was giving our team bad advice on which modeling approach to use for price optimization and when I objected nobody listened to me - although later it was realized that the code the consultant delivered was useless and the whole project was written as a failure).

What can I do to better convey the depth of my knowledge to my colleagues and managers?

  • 4
    Can you elaborate on how you deliver your feedback? Are you denied the opportunity, or do people dismiss what you say out of hand? – Noel Jan 26 at 1:17
  • 2
    How long have you been at this company, and how long have the colleagues and managers? – thursdaysgeek Jan 26 at 1:18
  • Why do you think this is happening? Are you a minority or otherwise different from the rest. – Kilisi Jan 26 at 1:30
  • If you truly are good you need to find an employer which is a proper meritocracy. Sadly, those are pretty rare. I worked in one place where the worst performers got promoted because they complained the most. I didn't stay there long and within a few years the company went bust. Of course some people only talk a good game. That might be you. – samerivertwice Jan 26 at 2:57
  • Update your resume, ditch your job. – Roman Jan 28 at 11:02
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This has a couple layers to it. And some of this answer is making assumptions, so please comment if any of the assumptions are off and I will address them.

First and foremost. Confidence: Look at how you deliver your content in written form. It is probably full of confidence. It is neat and well written. Probably very little wavering. well-substantiated. Good logic conveyed in an easy to read way. Is this the way you talk? Do you deliver verbally in a confident tone. Did you say: "Consultant A is giving you bad advice! Look at reason A, B and C. Or was it less organized and easier to dismiss?

Second. Politics: Do you have clout where you work? Are these people inclined to listen to reason and logic? The people who read your writing are upvoting you because you give them what they want, which is usually well-phrased knowledge. Sometimes office politics care about that a whole lot less than they should. Doing things the right way isn't always as important as making so-and-so happy. Or other so-and-so is just very good at convincing people to do whatever they say. If you are the new guy or just not important enough, no matter how you argue you just won't have the weight to make things happen.

If your problem is the first, I suggest you write out a proposal before you deliver it. You are clearly good at that and it will get you organized. You could also consider delivering it by e-mail rather than in person if it won't weaken your position. If your problem is the second, go to someone who has clout and convince them. Get them alone and present it as a way to help them. Make sure you hammer home how much it will make their life easier/make them look good. (They may not go with what you say but the more you do it (and the more you also happen to be right) the more they will value your input.

Do both if needed.

9

I don't want to assume anything about how you deliver your feedback in person versus in a written form.

Something that has worked well for me is to ask questions. If you think something doesn't fit how your company or team does things, ask about specific aspects that you feel the tool is lacking without making it obvious that you don't want to use it. Asking questions also allows others to feel that they are heard, and can lead to more in-depth conversations in which your knowledge can shine.

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    Focused, tailored questions. Eg: "how is handled case X we deal with daily?" "That solution will handle occurence Y?" "Statistic bias K would skew the result?" – Paolo Jan 26 at 9:59
  • I like this answer. As I gain experience in the industry, I realize that questions are what really demonstrates expertise. – ShinEmperor Jan 28 at 12:40
6
+200

I think there's an important angle here that's very easy to miss: context.

You need to look not just at the delivery method (written word versus spoken or other forms of communication), but also the context in which you are providing the content.

At work, you're filling a specific need via the role you were hired for. Some people are hired as software engineers, others are hired as janitors or accountants, still others as salespeople, project managers, or directors. The context of your participation is based on your employer's expectations for the role that you've been hired for. People expect content you're giving to be within that context. It sounds like some of your expertise is slightly outside of your defined job duties, so it may just be the case that no matter how eloquent you are, and regardless of whether you're the using verbal or written word, it won't sink in easily.

Compare that with the other context you've described: Online blogs (and forums). These are inherently self-defining; if you blog about Statistics then people evaluate you as a statistics expert. It may not be the case that you're "better" at written word, it may simply be the case that you're "better" when people are evaluating the thing that you're actually good at, versus when it's out of context.

  • 1
    I agree with this. The OP provided no sample situation in which his opinions were asked and given then rejected or dismissed. It sounds like the OP is doing his/her job in which no opinion is required to be given. – Dan Jan 28 at 20:47
1

I think you'll have to try a number of things, centered around improving "your brand" at work.

Next time you write one send it out on your company message board. "Hey guys, I just wrote a new blog post on XYZ." Also share it on your social media boards (LinkedIn, Twitter, FB, etc). Try using Medium, or cross-posting on Medium if you have another blogging platform. Ask your friends to share.

Try giving talks at local Meetups, or create a Meetup group about something you're an expert in. Promote it and invite co-workers to your talks. Apply for speaking roles at conferences. When you get accepted, let co-workers know about it. Make a little write-up about it. Share it.

For promoting your technical knowledge, write up a tutorial about how you would go about solving a technical problem, maybe even the type of issue you mention where they didn't bother to ask for your insight on. Promote your tutorial, too -- but maybe not the work problem example at work. :)

You cannot just rely on your writing ability to express your knowledge. You need to use more than one method to share your knowledge.

However, you can't change everyone and some people will have permanently set their opinions against you, for whatever reason -- age, gender, country of origin, tone of your voice, color of your hair, your blue jeans. You can't change everyone. If this is the case, you should probably just find another place to work because they're always going to be unreasonable.

  • young age most certainly can be a factor but in most western countries I highly doubt being female or a minority is a reason anymore in the lower middle class and above, which OP and his company most likely can be attributed to.yes,this sounds somewhat snobbish but I find it to be true from experience.I – DigitalBlade969 Jan 29 at 22:39
  • How is this comment relevant? My advice was to use other channels to support written communications, because relying on written communications will likely not be enough to convince coworkers. The caveat about age or gender is because there may be some instances where people are too set in their ways to change. Seems unlikely a lower-class employer would not hire a PhD grad, nor was there anything in the OP post to indicate this. – user70848 Jan 31 at 18:26
  • It"s relevant to your last paragraph,I don't agree with it completely.I find the minority and gender argument to be a dead horse still being beaten as if we live in the pre 1960s.I don't deny that sort of thinking still exists, even in the so called first world but there is considerably more equality present than is screamed at us in every medium.I mentioned class because lower classes may be more succeptable to "ye olde ways" but even there has been a major shift. – DigitalBlade969 Jan 31 at 22:56
  • Point is, you can’t change everyone. Not everyone is under 30 at work. And your comments aren’t constructive. You’re just criticizing because you disagree with the premise, even though it’s an entirely possible scenario. Comment on how an answer could improve, not because you just don’t like it. – user70848 Feb 5 at 5:49
  • and you haven't even understood it seemd what I "criticized".I agreed with your age remark but found the minority and gender remark to be out of touch with the world since the 1960's.most everyone has already changed,not by me but sociatal evolition... – DigitalBlade969 Feb 5 at 19:02

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