How to Work with Subject Matter Experts

Posted by Megan Dobransky on May 01, 2016

We’re celebrating Throwback Thursday with a neat blog post from our archives. Check it out! Sometimes the hardest part of any training, instructional design or technical writing job is gathering the right information from the right people.

Here are some tips we found about working with SMEs:

Be Clear

Outline exactly what you need and when you need it so that the SME knows what is expected of him/her.

Be Respectful

Subject matter experts are experts for a reason and they are probably really busy. Let them know you understand how important their time is and only use them when you need to.

Be Resourceful

Try to find backup SMEs or other resources to tap in case your SME is too busy, non-responsive or difficult to deal with.

Be Forceful

Don’t let that SME walk all over you! You’re just doing your job, too. Sometimes it might take scheduling a face-to-face meeting or a longer phone call to get the information you need.

Be Prepared

When you finally do get time with a SME, don’t waste it. Do your homework and have a set of thorough, meaningful questions. The trick is to get as much information as you need in one session.

Need help creating content for your learning programs? Contact us to find out how EdgePoint’s team of instructional designers and SMEs can partner with you.