The Unbreakable Rules of Working with Subject Matter Experts: An L&D Guide

Thomas Bril
L&D Specialist
The Unbreakable Rules of Working with Subject Matter Experts: An L&D Guide

Imagine a world where collaboration is seamless, and the synergy between Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) and Learning and Development (L&D) professionals is nothing short of magic. Is this wishful thinking, or can it become a reality? By adhering to a few essential rules, you can create a partnership with your SME that leads to the most effective training programs.

In this blog post, we will explore the rules you should never break when working with your SME. We’ll share insights, best practices, and tips to ensure a harmonious and productive relationship.

1. Establish Clear Roles and Expectations From the Start

Failure to set clear roles and expectations can lead to confusion and wasted effort. Both you and your SME need to understand your responsibilities and deliverables. A quote from a seasoned L&D professional sums it up nicely: “A strong foundation is the key to a successful collaboration.”

2. Communicate Effectively and Regularly

Open communication is crucial in any partnership. Establish regular touchpoints with your SME to share updates, address concerns, and ensure alignment. Remember that communication goes both ways, so actively listen to your SME and encourage them to provide feedback.

3. Be Flexible and Adaptable

As with any project, there will likely be changes and adjustments along the way. Embrace flexibility, and be prepared to pivot your approach based on your SME’s input. Learning to adapt and revise plans, while maintaining a focus on the end goal, will lead to a stronger final product.

4. Respect Their Time and Expertise

Subject Matter Experts are often very busy individuals. Be respectful of their time by being organized and prepared for meetings. Show appreciation for their expertise by valuing their input and incorporating it into your work. A well-known L&D professional advises, “Treat your SME like gold, and they will reward you with invaluable insights.”

5. Maintain a Customer-Centric Mindset

Always remember that the end goal is to create a training program that meets the needs of your target audience. Keep the learners’ needs and preferences in mind, and work with your SME to create content that is both engaging and informative.

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Now that you know the rules for working with SMEs, it’s time to find the perfect partner for your next project. That’s where Learnexus comes in. Learnexus is a freelancer marketplace designed specifically for Learning & Development, helping you quickly and easily find and hire top talent. With a focus on Fortune 500 employees and a 47% cost saving, you’ll save time and eliminate procurement issues with a single master services agreement. Start your search today, and unlock the power of Learnexus!