Focus on the Most Fascinating Thing

What's your area of self marketing expertise?

Not sure what that means? Well, you have one, but it's possible you haven't isolated and cultivated it yet.

Before defining "area of self marketing expertise," allow me to share how I unwittingly stumbled into one years ago at a cocktail party.

"You're in real estate; you'll know," my friend said with an inquisitive look on his face. "What company is moving into that big office building under construction along the freeway?"

This was a problematic question for me, because I hadn't even noticed the office building under construction along the freeway.

It was 2001, and I had just left a position in college administration for a brand-new career in commercial real estate. After two weeks on the job, I went to a party where three separate people asked me questions about office buildings, retailers and condominium construction. I must have sounded pretty stupid, because I had trouble answering all of them.

I had spent my first two weeks on the job diligently learning about the legal, technical and even mathematical aspects of real estate. But at the party, nobody wanted to know the boring stuff. They wanted to talk about the sexy, glamorous side of the industry.

Something suddenly became quite clear: It wasn't enough to become technically proficient in my new trade. I had to become an expert on those things related to commercial real estate that were most fascinating to people outside the profession.

I made a commitment to become an expert on the most interesting aspects. I studied the local marketplace. I read every magazine, newspaper and website I could find that related to construction, real estate, business expansion and economic development. I became the "Cliff Clavin" of growth and development in my town.

Armed with a collection of eyebrow-raising stats and trivia, I had something to talk about at social gatherings. Better yet, I had material to pitch to the local media, allowing me to become a go-to source. Community groups booked me as a luncheon speaker, and I even started an economic development radio talk show. All of this public exposure was good for business.

I didn't realize it at the time, but I accidentally discovered an "area of self marketing expertise." Everyone is hopefully an expert in his or her profession, but an area of self marketing expertise is quite different. It consists of the most fascinating aspects of your job, company or industry.

So, what's your area of self marketing expertise?

If you're not sure, sit down with a few friends and explain what you do. Ask them what they find most interesting. Take notes.

Once you have decided on your area of self marketing expertise, think about how you will communicate it in an intriguing way. When that's mastered, it's time to put your area of self marketing expertise to work for you. Use it at networking events, in newsletter articles, in public speaking, when dealing with the press and in your social media postings.

Professionals who have well defined and carefully crafted areas of self marketing expertise will ultimately be more successful, because they never run out of interesting things to talk about. An area of self marketing expertise becomes a magnet, attracting people to you.

When people are dazzled by what you have to say, they'll be more than happy to hire you when they need help with the more technical and "boring" aspects of your profession.

Jeff Beals is an award-winning author, who helps professionals do more business and have a greater impact on the world through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. As a professional speaker, he delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. You can learn more and follow his "Business Motivation Blog" at

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