During the Brexit referendum debate in 2016 Michael Gove MP famously declared that “Britain has had enough of experts” and like so much rhetoric to come from that debate it was nonsense.
Gove at that time was the Minister for Justice so it’s reasonable to assume he’d appreciate the expertise of the specialist lawyers, judges, police, clerks, expert witnesses and the many other professionals charged with ensuring justice is dispensed fairly and hence the success of his department.
If you’ve had the privilege of reading the The Secret Barrister's book, you’ll know that Mr. Gove’s department was not a success as the criminal justice system was devastated under his watch. Experts with years of experience, knowledge and understanding were shed, meaning the justice system is now in chaos. Justice for both victims and perpetrators of crime is now a lottery.
This may be an extreme example but one which I believe exemplifies the need for experts. A specialist professional knows how to perform a task or facilitate a project, so it happens successfully and in a timely fashion.
For a vivid example of the difference between experts and amateurs you only have to look at the difference in skill levels between the professional dancers and the enthusiastic celebrities on Strictly Come Dancing.
On a personal level I wouldn’t attempt to fit a carpet, rewire my house, plumb in a shower, deliver a baby, pilot an airliner or dance a foxtrot. In fact, there are many specialist jobs I wouldn’t attempt to do, I’d leave them to the people who know best how to perform them.
At a business level we leave it to experts all the time, web site designers, graphic designers, IT consultants, software developers, commercial lawyers, accountants, book keepers, architects, mechanics, printers, engineers…the list could go on, but you get the point. All these specialists facilitate a piece of work effectively because they are experts at it.
If you think of all your touch points with specialists you quickly realise there are many roles and tasks, even in a small business you can’t perform yourself, because you don’t have the expertise.
The business of writing, or writing for business is no different, yet it’s one of those areas that many people think they can do themselves, after all most of us know how to write. But do we all have the skill to write for business, conveying often complex messages with clarity?
I look at it this way, if I need a well composed, properly lit, sharply focused photograph for my business website, I don’t put something up I’ve just snapped on my smartphone I engage a professional photographer.
Written content is no different, if you want well composed, sharply focused, grammatically correct content engage the expert, use a writer.