4 Tips for Demonstrating Your Expertise Without Sounding Arrogant

Aisle Planner How to Demonstrate Expertise Without Being Arrogant
Photo courtesy Holly Felts Photography and Creative at Heart Conference

Ah, expertise—we all want it but, at the same time, tend to be skeptical of anyone who claims to have it. When you’ve been working in your field for a while, you tend to become an expert in many arenas—but the trick is communicating the fact that you know what in the world you’re talking about…without sounding like a used car salesman or a diagnosable narcissist. Today, then, we’re breaking down our top tips for letting others know…well, just how much you know.

Keep Focused on the Conversation at Hand

We all have those moments—we’re so excited for our turn to speak (because we know what the heck we’re talking about for once) that we fail to listen. When we’re in the middle of a meeting focused on something we’re experts in, or speaking to someone about a process we’ve perfected, it’s easy to get overly excited at the thought of the awesomeness we’re about to drop on everyone (guilty) and neglect to follow the natural flow of the conversation that’s unfolding before us. We’re all about demonstrating expertise—but, for maximum impact, it needs to come at a time that feels natural for the conversation at hand, rather than a moment we’ve contrived for the sake of tooting our own horn.

Use Stats and Research

When we’re talking about ourselves, our expertise and, overall, how darn amazing we are, we can run the risk of sounding arrogant or narcissistic—even if what we’re saying is true. A good way to make sure your expertise comes across as intelligence and not arrogance, then, is to use stats and research to your advantage. If you’re explaining to someone, for example, why posting a four-paragraph-long caption on Instagram isn’t a good idea, don’t just say: “Trust me—I know.” Try using stats instead (i.e. Did you know that 95% of Instagram captions longer than one sentence don’t get read?). We may know our stuff (and know it well), but it can be difficult to convince others that we aren’t just pulling things out of thin air if we don’t have much proof to offer. Numbers and research that back up the fact you’re an ultra-genius (because you are) are your best friend in demonstrating your expertise.

Tell an Anecdote

On the flip side of stats and research are personal anecdotes, and, while you don’t want an anecdote to be your only evidence as to how right you are, a story can help paint a solid picture for others. Anecdotes are personalized and, most importantly, relatable and, as such, add a human factor to that super important point you’re trying to get across.

Be Flexible and Open

Oftentimes, when we’ve done something a thousand times over, we don’t like wrenches thrown in our routine. While this is perfectly normal, it’s also important to remember that being an expert can have its downfalls—one of which is holding too tight to our own routines and not being open to other ideas that may benefit our process. This isn’t to say you should fix something that’s not broken—if you’re a well-oiled machine, you shouldn’t just switch things up willy-nilly. But, you also shouldn’t trudge ahead for years with your head down, without ever stopping to look up and take in the change of scenery (i.e. new market trends, additional team members, or updated systems that might help you perfect your routine even more). Think of your routines as a window rather than a door—you can keep your window closed while still checking to see if there’s anything worthwhile on the other side of it.


Overall, demonstrating expertise is all about painting a cohesive picture using more than just our own opinion. With research, personal anecdotes and a willingness to follow the conversation at hand (rather than waiting for our turn to talk), we can convince others of all the totally-awesome, crazy-cool, super-helpful things we know—without leaving a terrible taste in their mouths.

About the Author

Gillian Griffith
Gillian Griffith

Gillian knows there’s nothing as deadly as a woman with good grammar, great nails and a strong backhand (think: tennis). She is based out of Las Vegas, Nevada, where she spends the sunny days with her family, her Louisiana Catahoula pup and, her ultimate love, a 1939 typewriter.

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