How To Involve A Subject Matter Expert In A Corporate Client Meeting
Your Subject Matter Expert is an integral part of the eLearning team. They offer their expertise during the online training content curation process and help narrow down the key goals and objectives. But they can also be a valuable asset during kickoff meetings, feedback sessions, and online training course launches. Here are 7 tips that can help you tap into the experience and talents of your Subject Matter Expert in your next corporate client meeting.
- Enlist the aid of the RIGHT Subject Matter Expert.
Subject Matter Experts tend to specialize in a specific field or niche. Therefore, it’s important to choose a Subject Matter Expert who has the expertise in the particular industry that pertains to your client. For example, you wouldn’t want to bring a life science Subject Matter Expert into a meeting that deals with physical science. They may know about a great deal about the general topic, but their experience does not lie within that targeted niche. Aside from their knowledge, you should also opt for a Subject Matter Expert who has the right disposition for the meeting. If they are typically boisterous then they may not be a good match for a client who is quiet and reserved, for example.
- Prepare them for what to expect in the meeting room.
Even the most experienced Subject Matter Experts still need to be prepared beforehand. This is due to the fact that every meeting is different to some degree, even if you are working with the same client. Be sure to clarify their role in the meeting, what you expect them to discuss, and how they are going to contribute to the discussion overall. They should also know as much as possible about the situation, such as who is who and what topics will be covered.
- Determine the goals of the client meeting beforehand.
Your Subject Matter Expert should be completely aware of what you hope to achieve by the end of the meeting, whether that be landing a new project or clarifying the eLearning course objectives. This is also the time to get their input and ask if they have any goals they would like to meet, such as learning more about the specific needs of the client before proposing the online training content. You may even want to supply them with a checklist of objectives that you want to cover during the meeting. If the goals are more in depth you can give them a detailed overview of the steps involved and how you are going to check them off your list.
- Research the client’s background prior to the meeting.
Collaborate with your Subject Matter Expert to learn as much as possible about the client, including their mission statement, training initiatives, and history. You can typically find a wealth of resources online by visiting their website, LinkedIn profiles, and other social media pages. Look for any clues that might tell you what they are looking for and their professional traits. For example, are they tech-forward or do they prefer more traditional training methods? Researching their background gives you the opportunity to step into the meeting well informed and organized. You are also more likely to address their specific needs if you can identify their current training gaps.
- Ask the Subject Matter Expert to create examples for the client’s review.
It’s always a good idea to head into a client meeting with something to show, especially if the client is new to online training and may still need some convincing. It’s also a great approach for clients who are unsure about what they truly want or need their online training program to contain. Ask your Subject Matter Expert to create a draft outline of the content to be included in the online training course and/or several examples that you can put on display. It doesn’t have to be anything detailed or elaborate, just as long as it gives them a clear idea of the options you have for them.
- Discuss the details of meeting after the fact.
After you’ve stepped out of the meeting you should set aside some time to talk with your Subject Matter Expert. You can discuss the highlights and address concerns that either of you might have. This is also an opportunity to talk about how you are going to proceed and prepare for the next client meeting, if necessary. Go over each of the goals and objectives you set beforehand and determine if they were fully met. If not, then discuss the steps that you must take in order to achieve them. Make sure that your Subject Matter Expert knows about this post-meeting conference in advance so that they can make time in their schedule.
- Don’t forget to appreciate all of their hard work.
Your Subject Matter Expert has taken the time to attend the meeting, prepare beforehand, and recap all of the details afterward. As such, they deserve a pat on the back and a show of gratitude. Thank them for all of their hard work, and ensure that they know how much you appreciate their efforts. Even experienced experts who have been in the field for years like to be praised every now and then, especially when they go above and beyond by making it to the client meeting.
The expertise, abilities, and skills that your Subject Matter Experts bring to the table can be of great value to you in the boardroom. The next time you're meeting your corporate client, why not bring your Subject Matter Expert along to make it even more productive.
Are you finding it difficult to work with your Subject Matter Expert? Read the article Working With Subject Matter Experts: The Ultimate Guide to learn how to work more effectively with your Subject Matter Expert and overcome the most common challenges.