We all have something to say. Whether we enjoy verbalizing it or not, we all have an opinion. The ability to express those opinions can not only be valuable to you, but to your entire organization.
Thought leadership is a fancy term for just that — expressing your opinion and stating your expertise. You may feel vulnerable at first when you convey your thoughts to the public, but it is something well worth the risk!
So, how do you begin to express yourself through thought leadership? There are many different ways you can be successful but you must find what works for you. If you are starting from scratch, the most common and sensible way is to create and maintain a blog. From there, it is up to you. You can speak at events, be active on social media and comment on other people’s posts. But offer something different. How does your viewpoint stand out? That is what makes you unique.
Why it is Necessary:
- Your voice matters. Not everyone has to agree with you. As a matter of fact, it is most certain that not everyone will. But there are different opinions in this world for a reason and yours is valuable in the discussion.
- You become a valuable voice to your client or your organization. Not only do you gain exposure for your organization but you demonstrate your passion to reach outside of your daily task list.
- You establish yourself as an expert in your field. Offer regular thoughts on your industry and it shows you have done your research and are comfortable in discussions of the intricacies and details in your field.
What to Do:
- Be consistent. Develop a strategy for what areas you will concentrate on and what platforms you will use (i.e. blog, Twitter, etc.).
- Monitor the engagement. Have you received feedback? Do people care what you have to say? Pay attention to these areas and be flexible. Altering your course could have dramatic results.
- Be thoughtful with your words. Always add to a conversation with constructive dialogue.
- Be generous. Give of your time, give of your compliments and give of your insight. Give it freely.
What Not to Do:
- Do not feel the need to comment on everything and resist the temptation to offer an opinion every time you have a thought. You can quickly turn into a know-it-all and trust me, no one likes a know-it-all.
- Do not be condescending. When you challenge someone else’s thoughts or express your own, it can be easy to sound elitist. Again, be cautious with your words.
- Do not be reactionary. It is not necessary to be the first to respond. Ask yourself if your contribution is relevant and adds to the conversation.
Thought leadership is an important way to grow your organization and your own reputation. When done right, it can be a catapult for valuable opportunities. Make your interactions count!