Do you have what it takes to be a thought leader?

We all want to be thought leaders. 20 years ago companies used to claim they were the world’s best kept secret. These days, most don’t simply want to be famous, they want to be seen as the voice of authority in their chosen sector. Sometimes those companies, or more specifically the people who work for them, really are insightful. Then the job is a pretty easy one. It’s just about connecting them with the right people, and helping them to communicate concisely. More often than not, though, people need help working out what they want to say. If this is you, I hope you’ll find these pointers helpful. You can’t be an expert on everything (even if many of us try!). Find your niche. Even if it’s a micro niche. You remember that advice about Twitter? Look and listen before you start broadcasting? The same is true if you want to be a thought leader. Take some time to see who is saying what already. No-one became a thought leader with ‘Me too’ arguments. Decide what level of controversy you are happy with it. Check that your employer agrees with your reading of the situation…… Learn how to present your thoughts clearly and concisely, with minimum waffle, and maximum impact. You need to practice this stuff. Try to articulate your thoughts in a series of formats. Start with a summary of no more than 150 words. Do your research. Gather a collection of facts and figures to support your thinking. Accept any opportunity to present your thoughts. You have to gain a following. This takes time. Don’t be afraid to start on the bottom rung. It’s the safest place to start your climb. Keep honing your message. What counts as thoughtful content now will most likely be dated in a few months.