According to Forbes, a thought leader can only be declared as such at the discretion of someone else. A thought leader is someone who, based on their expertise and perspective in an industry, offers unique guidance, inspires innovation and influences others. A thought leader is one whose expertise is recognized and sought after. Thought leaders are often asked to speak at events and conferences, and encouraged to share their wisdom with a variety of audiences. Thought leaders are trusted sources of inspiration and information.
Being a thought leader doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a lengthy process of proving that your abilities and expertise can make a profound impact on others. It takes a lot of hard work, dedication and creativity in order to build a reputation and earn that credibility. The path to becoming a thought leader in itself, proves your power, dedication, and potential. Having the support of the media is critical in securing your place in the Thought Leader Hall of Fame. With media exposure you can position yourself above the competition as a leader and a valuable resource to your audience. Here’s how:
Have an Opinion (But Make It A Good One)
You know the old saying, “opinions are like a******s, everyone has one and most of them stink.” Thought leaders have opinions, but more than just having an opinion, they have a reason and resources to back in up that prove why it is worth hearing. As a social society, we value people who give us perspective on things that matter most in our culture today. We derive inspiration from people who shed light on new ways of looking at things, offer innovative solutions to relatable issues, and provide thought provoking topics of conversation. Ask yourself these questions. What are current events that I care about? Why do I care about them? How can I encourage others to share in my passion? Don’t just formulate an opinion, think of the why and the wow.
- WHY do I care about this?
- How can I WOW others into caring as well.
The media seeks guests who have valid and valuable opinions that will help influence and encourage others to ponder what’s important.
Talk About the Future (or at Least Make Valid Assumptions)
Wouldn’t it be nice if we all had that magic crystal ball that gave us insight and clarity into what the future might hold? Now that might not be a realistic opportunity, but the good news is, history often repeats itself so if we look hard enough at our past, chances are we can come up with an educated guess as to where our future is headed. What events have happened? Why have they occurred? What lessons were learned? What changes need to be made?
Take a lengthy and introspective look at what is currently happening in our world. Begin to paint a picture of where these things are headed, why they are headed there, and how we can influence them. When we make educated assumptions and back them up with reasonable research and reasons why, we end up in a way, showing people what happens before they see it for themselves. People will start to look at you as being ahead of the times –You will become a source of trusted information. Does this mean you have to be right all the time? No, we’re not asking you to be a cult leader who claims to know the future and fails to admit when their prophecy failed to come to fruition, we’re asking you to think logically and rely on insight, research, and intuition to encourage people to take action to influence future change in themselves, their industries, their communities, and the world at large.
Keep Up With Current Events
Have you read the blog posts that talk about researching what’s currently happening and using that to pitch to the media? It’s one of the best superpowers a thought leader can have! Use current events to remain relevant and begin to form ideas and opinions on necessary actions that you can encourage an audience to take.
What is hot right now on news channels and talk radio? What topics are popping up all over your news feed or print online? What has been making it to the front page of the newspapers? Thought leaders who are able to offer valuable commentary on current events will be the first people the media will call to help put a story into a relatable perspective. These are the people who will be called upon to help shape the public’s way of thinking. This type of thought leadership is organic and evolves naturally as the thought leader continues to align their thoughts and messages with what is going on in the world.
Have a Story
During every media appearance you want to make sure that your story comes through loud and clear so your audience has a sense of who you are. People don’t wake up one morning with a desire to speak about something they have no experience in. Have you read the blog post, “Use Your Story As An Advantage”? If not, check that out. We all have stories, and these stories make us relatable and intriguing. People don’t want to hear about a subject from a person with no experience. Tell us why this is important to you and where the passion came from. A personal touch invites your audience to see the person behind the message.
Build a Movement
The media is interested in people who have inspired a movement beyond a message. This helps show that the topic at hand has enduring value and interest if a substantial number of people have joined in. Building a “movement” is more permanent and influential than just claiming to have a big following. A movement shifts thought into action and creates real and lasting change that people are compelled to join in on.
Establishing yourself as a thought leader is no simple task. It involves hard work, patience, and perseverance as well as innovation and a little bit of good fortune (go rub that crystal ball). You can’t merely declare yourself an expert and expect people to follow you and hang on every word you say. Thought leadership is about a proven track record and reliability in messaging. Want to learn more about how you can use the media to share your messaging and become a thought leader? Click here.
Want to join in on the thought leader conversation? Join Business Coach Rita Goodroe and I on Clubhouse March 1st 12:00pm – 1pm Eastern. See you there!