As business leaders, we hear the term “thought leader” being thrown around a lot. You know what we’re talking about – those men and women who are recognized for extensive expertise in their field and are often utilized as the go-to source of knowledge for others in their industry. We’re told to listen to them, to connect with them and, ultimately, to become them. But what does this entail? Becoming a respected industry thought leader doesn’t happen overnight, but there are some simple things you can do to get there. Here are our tips for success:
If you’re not already posting original content online, drop what you’re doing and sprint to the nearest computer. One of the first steps in becoming a thought leader is doing exactly what the name entails – leading with your thoughts. This can be accomplished in many different ways—a Facebook post, a blog, an email newsletter—it really doesn’t matter how you get it done as long as you’re putting your thoughts out there. Doing so will demonstrate to customers and colleagues alike that you are actively thinking about issues that are relevant to them.
Being a thought leader is just as much about learning as it is about teaching. If you want to be considered a respected leader in your field, you must know exactly what’s going on in your industry. Study up on current events and subscribe to trades and industry blogs – the knowledge you’ll gain from this research will translate into meaningful communications with those turning to you for insight.
If You’ve Got It, Flaunt It
Don’t be afraid to promote your previous accomplishments. Any awards or recognitions you’ve received should be proudly displayed across both your online and offline messaging. This doesn’t mean you have to brag (a quick mention in your Twitter bio will do just fine), but make sure that your achievements aren’t being ignored. After all, thought leaders are considered to be trusted industry sources. What better way to establish credibility than by showing some love to the high points on your resume?
These steps are just a few of the ways that you can establish yourself as a respected industry voice. By taking the time to make your ideas, knowledge and achievements known, you will be able to unleash your potential in ways you never thought possible.
Got any tips to add to our list? Leave us a comment below.