Let’s face it, being a thought leader is not something you attain because you went to an Ivy League school or because you graduated summa cum laude from a prestigious college or because you completed a one-off program. Actually, being a thought leader and influential in your industry requires you to have exercised some personal branding strategies that get you noticed and recognized as a thought leader.
What makes a thought leader out of an individual is the ability to drive innovation and new ideas in a particular field. Every thought leader is revered, famous and connected enough to drive people to their respective businesses.
Yet being a thought leader does not happen overnight. You need a systematic and consistent approach to become the person people follow and consider to be solid in a particular field. Here are some things you need to do to be a thought leader.
You have to create a lot of content
We live in a digital age where everyone is scrambling for digital content material. You cannot afford to keep your thoughts to yourself and expect to be recognized as a thought leader. You have to go out there and make sure you are seen.
Getting heard or being read on a blog is not enough. Make sure you are published often in several places. Thought leaders are always writing books, articles, emails and blog post. They are active in creating content and making sure they are read, seen or heard. They do not pass up the opportunity to speak in public or to be interviewed in the media. To be an influential thought leader, you have to make sure do not rest on your successes.
Establish a personal brand
Your brand is your identity. And people can key into this on social media. But it does not stop there. Be daring and unique. Have something relevant to say and appeal to both reason and emotion. It is not simply about intellect. You also have to affect people emotionally with what you say or do. You should be inspiring and be able to impact and connect with your message.
Be willing to speak out
You have to be heard as a thought leader. Be willing to offer speeches and do well to get paid for such efforts. The truth is that many people do have a serious dread for public speaking. But if you want to be regarded as a thought leader you have to go out there and make sure you are heard. You improve your credibility once you start speaking out and offering speeches. You can start with the local chamber of commerce, and you could also work your way up associations, in house gigs for major corporations and conferences.
Be controversial and expect mixed feelings about who you are
Not everyone will like you as a thought leader, no matter how intelligent you sound and how appealing you may be. If you want to be a thought leader, expect to be loved and hated. Really there is no in-between. You are not a leader when you are appealing to everyone.
As a thought leader, you should be able to define solutions and be a few inches ahead of what people expect from you. There is no visibility in only doing what works or sticking to a certain set of beliefs. You have to transcend boundaries and grow beyond your own leadership. Attracting followers, you should have been able to stand out and boldly make claims and predict bigger eventualities in the field you belong to. Such establishes your genius and asserts your position as a thought leader.
Developing your personal brand, gaining visibility and becoming established as a thought leader is a process that doesn’t happen in days or months; it takes years. You have to be consistent, hardworking and innovative to attain the title of “thought leader.”
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