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Thought Leadership - Yes, There Is a Formula

April 20, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 145

Thought leadership. Sounds sexy. How do you actually do it?

Thank our sweet potatoes; we're seeing less and less intrusive hard sell in Sales and Marketing. The tendency today is toward seeking out experts to meet our needs. We give experts our trust quite readily. We listen to their words. We even buy their products.

And that's why Thought Leadership has become a new marketing tool, and why it's catching like the hem of your favourite panties in the world of PR.

So then, experts we must be!

Of course, that presents a tricky little problem. How do you go about 'being' an expert? Tougher still, how do you announce it to the world?

It turns out, there is actually a structure to Thought Leadership; an easy to apply framework; and once learned, it can become your tool for positioning yourself as the expert in your industry.

In simple terms, the framework for Thought Leadership is this:

• Tell them what to pay attention to • Tell them what these things mean • Tell them what problems and opportunities these things present • Tell them how things might turn out, projected forward

That's it. Just that. Use that structure in your speeches, articles and interviews, and you will be perceived as a thought leader. Leave any one out, and your total credibility takes a knock.

Let's put it in perspective. In my own industry as a speaker and trainer, if I were addressing my peers, a thought leadership article might look like this:

• Tell them what to pay attention to: This is the part where I bring perspective to a boundless sea of facts. In my case, it might be: Audiences today are interested in 'getting useful ideas,' from a proven expert whom they have come to trust.

• Tell them what these things mean: You've provided a perspective. Now bring an interpretation into it. For example: That means audiences are into getting useful ideas, from their favourite big name, where and when they want them: at home, in their cars, on their PC's and cellphones.

• Tell them what problems and opportunities these things present: Go beyond interpretation, and start to provide specific, applicable ideas. Such as: We, as speakers, should be looking for different channels through which to deliver our messages. We can hold webinars, sell audio and video CD's, create downloadable content, use Facebook and Twitter, and write books and articles.

• Tell them how things might turn out: Speculate about future outcomes: Some speakers will be left behind, while others prosper. That's why we should act now.

I used this format to great effect in a recent talk for a congress of Human Resource Managers. I described how we are moving from a capital to a knowledge economy (Perspective). Then I spoke about how that creates a problem because knowledge is finite (Interpretation). I explained how 'Talent' fills this gap, and then I went into detail about what talent is, and what it isn't, and how to grow, and how to crush, human talent (specific, applicable ideas). I then described the possible scenarios for organizations that do and do not embrace these principles going forward (outcomes).

The framework is simple. Try it in your next talk. Wrap some words around it for your next article. Because the structure is sound, people will pay attention. Do it often, and you will position yourself as a Thought Leader.

Happy leadership!

Douglas Kruger is a professional speaker and author of three books. See him in action at: Follow him on Linked In or Twitter: @douglaskruger. Email him at:

Source: EzineArticles
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