Guest blog: How to become a thought leader

February 17, 2015

Filed under: Communications — jonathanpoisner @ 9:30 am

Guest blog by Liz Banse of Resource Media. 

Thought Leadership: More than just a TED talk and, yes, more than just a fad

Have you ever dreamed of giving a TED talk and selling your big idea to the same folks who gobbled up Bill Gates big vision of innovating to zero, learned that gaming can be good, or how schools kill creativity?

What you were dreaming about was becoming a world-famous thought leader. If there was a word or phrase of the year in the communications industry for 2014, it would be “thought leadership.” Finally, a new phrase has pushed “storytelling” to the side as the “it” thing.

At Resource Media, we have heard a lot of you articulate your dreams of getting your bold vision out to a wider circle. There’s nothing we love more than working with visionaries – who wouldn’t?!

But, with all the ideas and excitement about thought leadership, what is it really?

First of all, it’s disruptive. Take any current notion of how things can or should be done and offer a completely different approach to solving whatever problem you have identified, and you are well on your way to becoming your industry’s thought leader.

Thought leaders tend to upend the status quo with a bold vision.

Thought leadership is not about being the most knowledgeable person on your issue.

If you’ve checked this box, great. But, before you go out and make your mark on the world, make sure that your organization’s brand is strong, too.

As the leader of an organization, your thought leadership should come around to benefit your organization. And, vice versa. If you know your organization’s brand is strong, it can help catapult you to the forefront. If it is weak, work on that first, before you work on your thought leadership plan.

Check. Now, you are ready to go forth and conquer the world. Package your thought leadership with an interesting life story (trust us, everyone has one). People have thought leadership, not organizations.

Create a video or some other vehicle that will carry your idea to others when you are not able to do it in-person. Attend events and conferences with audiences who can help you test out your idea and hone it even further. Actively pursue media interviews with journalists who can help spread your ideas among other influencers. Play an active role on social media, engaging in conversations with other leaders.

Watch your influence meter rise.

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