A subject-matter expert should be your friend and partner, but he or she should not be your master. Their role is to ensure the quality of the technical content; yours is to ensure that the learning objectives are achieved. Of course the SME may be able to provide you with valuable insights into the best ways to communicate their expertise, but they are not ideally placed to offer this advice. Why? Because subject experts suffer from ‘the curse of knowledge’ – they believe that every aspect of their subject is not only of vital importance but intrinsically interesting to just about anyone. They are wrong.
The situation is similar with clients and other forms of project sponsor. Try not to let them dictate to you how their needs should be met. Your relationship should be one of professional adviser, not order taker. The client’s responsibility is to articulate their needs. Yours is to help them to meet these needs effectively and efficiently.
Next: Focus on performance, not knowledge
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