I have been to a few meetings recently where people have commented “you are the expert in this” when they say this though is what they are really saying is or asking is “advise us on what we should do?”
The Oxford dictionaries definition of an expert is “A person who is very knowledgeable about or skillful in a particular area” So if that is the case everyone and anyone has the potential to be an expert right?
I was asked to present at a meeting yesterday, it was a council scrutiny panel and I had been asked to provide an update about what additional provision had been put in place of the Christmas /winter period for the homeless and vulnerable.
This was a last minute presentation, however, I was fortunate to have the latest sighed off versions of the Help us Help relaunch materials, the new video, the newspaper an update on the newly updated website to show them.
I didn’t have any new updates on any new innovative services all I had to offer was a campaign. The help us help campaign is aimed at making everyone experts, to provide the knowledge they require to make their own informed choices and decisions.
If the members around the table were expecting a detailed report/update well sadly they would have been disappointed. I started at that point. HARC would still be operating over the Christmas period, the outreach team would still be working over Christmas and new year and weather watch would still be in operating so essentially nothing new.
But what i expressed and impressed more onto the members was my “opinion” because I firmly believe that what we are doing is more than any newly commissioned service could ever provide and that’s being open and transparent about what and how existing services are already doing to protect Sheffield vulnerable. Trying to enable the members of the public to become their own expert and hopefully, make their own informed choices about “if” and “how” they would like to themselves help. because if there is one thing I have learned over the past few years dealing with such sensitive issues is that some people don’t like being told what to do, they want options.
It may take longer to get a message across, after all, we need to allow the members of the public to think, decide “their” options, but in the long run, at least there is the potential to have members of the public who are more knowledgeable and who knows even experts?
What I did find humorous after some really good positive feedback and a pledge by members to go to the website and learn more was one comment “soooo should we give to people who are begging?” my response was simply “that’s YOUR choice”
We all have to make choices in our lives, personally, I prefer to make my own choices/decisions based on the information I have acquired, sought out, thought about opposing to someone else doing my thinking and making my decisions for me.
I am off to the races today, looking forward to spending some quality time with friends, placing some bets, which would normally be randomly chosen based on a name I like, resulting in me being in financial deficit. This year I have sought out some advice from “experts” the guys in my office who bet regularly on the horses, I have a better understanding and know the difference between placing a bet either each way or to win, based on the odds.
So fingers crossed with my little bit of research and planning I will return from my day out with more than I arrived with – so fingers crossed