Have you ever been to a convention and watched a thought leader give a presentation to hundreds of people? All eyes are glued to the presenter, and at the end of their talk, dozens of people line up to shake this person’s hand and purchase their latest book.
Most of us have experienced this. But now I have another question. Have you ever wanted to be the person up there at the podium? The very one everyone in the audience is listening intently to and lining up to shake hands with?
Well, if you have, best you start planning your career now.
If you feel it is in your soul to help others, support a movement, or change an industry, you’ve already gone the first mile.
Here are the steps you need to take to become a winning thought leader.
Get published. The best thing you can do to secure your reputation as a thought leader is to author a book focused on your industry or expertise. However, if a book is not in the cards, start publishing articles in major trade publications that focus on your industry. And forget this nonsense that trade publications have seen their day. Are they as powerful as they were 15 years ago? The answer is no. But they still have influence, and there is no better way to gain credibility than to get published.
Work social media. Many thought leaders have little interest in social media. However, if you are in the B2B world, LinkedIn is where your customers are. An active social media presence is crucial. Write articles, add posts, share images, PDFs, and PowerPoints. People visit your profile to learn more about you. And don’t forget to comment on what others are posting. This helps build connections.
Give presentations. In my experience, you have to start small when it comes to presentations. Join a speaker’s bureau. Some are free, but the ones that charge a small amount usually get better results. They will connect you with different organizations looking for presenters. The best way to sell yourself is to have one or two presentations available to show. These do not need to be in front of an audience. A professional video of you giving a presentation will suffice. Another possibility is being interviewed for a webcast that caters to your industry. These can open a lot of doors.
Market yourself. Everything we just mentioned is part of a marketing strategy for thought leaders. But there is so much more. Always be on the lookout for new and sometimes unexpected opportunities. During the pandemic, one thought leader I know was asked to give a presentation before a business group on how to ensure their facilities are safe and clean. That presentation led to another presentation before another business group, and it opened the door to consulting positions. Oh, that person was me. You never know what can happen.
Don’t think about the money. Some presenters want to know how much they can charge for their presentation right away. When you first start, there may be no money involved; however, once you develop a name for yourself, you are expected to charge for your time and expertise. Some organizations will pay you a flat fee. Others pay based on the number of paying attendees. In other situations, it will be a combination of the two. Just be patient. In time the money will come.
Finally, becoming a thought leader takes time. Set goals for yourself. For instance, one goal is to get six articles per year published in major trade publications. Another may be to give one presentation per month. Setting goals means you have to work to make them happen and working to make them happen ensures they come to be.
Learn more from my recent webcast here: https://youtu.be/0SMOmCs7B5s
More thought leadership content here.
For more than twenty years, Robert Kravitz and his firm, AlturaSolutions Communications, has been collaborating with people and organizations, helping them become and then excel as Thought Leaders in their respective industries. He can be reached at LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/kravitzrobert.