Consulting: When Your Experience and Expertise is Put on the Spot
Being put on the spot is often synonymous with potential embarrassment and uncomfortable feelings. When you step into a board room with ten people in that room all looking at you and asking tough technical and design questions in rapid fire, all while scrutinizing your answers and judging your every statement –does this make you nervous? If your answer was yes, maybe consulting isn’t for you after all.
In my experiences in a board room, I’ve found that being put on the spot like this should be taken as an opportunity instead of a moment of pure terror. You have the stage. Your expertise and experience is in question. Are you qualified enough to come out looking well versed and knowledgeable? We’ve said time and time again that, in order to be a successful consultant, you need to be a subject matter expert. If you know your area of expertise upside down, backwards and forwards, then you’re going to do well in moments when you are put on the spot.
Instead of hoping your knowledge isn’t put to the test, prepare yourself for the opportunity to show what you know and what you can do. Here’s the thing about working as a consultant, you are selling yourself. You may know that you’re the most qualified for the job being offered, but a potential client doesn’t yet know this. You have to prove yourself. When you’re put in a tight spot and asked the difficult questions while being judged –your ability to come out looking like the expert that you are is what is going to secure the job for you.
It’s the job of companies to hire the most qualified consultant for the job and it’s the job of consultants to put their best foot forward. If you want to prove that you’re a subject matter expert, then you’re going to have to prove your expertise on the subject matter. You will be asked the tough questions. You will be asked the technical questions. You will have all of the attention on you. Your answers will be scrutinized. You will be judged on the statements you make. Sound like too much pressure? Then maybe a career of consulting isn’t the best fit for you.
Sure, these situations are intimidating, but when you’re comfortable with what you know and what you do then you’ll be able to handle them confidently. What are your thoughts on being put on the spot as a consultant? How do you do handling direct and challenging questions? Comment below!
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