Becoming a thought leader isn’t an easy task. It takes a superior amount of knowledge and a solid effort of consistently presenting your voice to your audience, whether that is through weekly blog articles or appearances at networking events. Once you’ve made your way up and have a large following, your next challenge is how to stay on top and keep your audience listening. One of the most important characteristics of a thought leader is the ability to always be learning. So, what do you need to learn to stay in the thought leadership game?
The latest research in your field
Sure, you’ve got a wealth of knowledge in your speciality and your audience has been very keen to hear about it, but if you don’t keep up with the latest, you’ll be cast aside like yesterday’s dinner. It is very important for thought leaders to keep up on the latest research and news in their field. Even better, when publishing new posts on your blog or social platforms, try to incorporate any real-time news on subjects that concern your audience. Your credibility will only go up when your audience hears the latest news from you, even before it hits general news sources.
What your audience wants
Just because you’ve already got the proverbial bull by the horns and have a massive following, doesn’t mean you should forget about what it is they want. The best way to stay in any relationship is to communicate and grow, based on the other’s needs. Keep your mind open to what you audience wants and needs and change your perspective accordingly. Using metrics to see if your numbers are growing, stagnating, or worse, declining, will help you easily realize if you aren’t giving the audience value.
What others have to say
When you were making your way up the ladder as a thought leader, you were probably looking up towards others who were already considered thought leaders or influencers. You wanted to emulate their style somewhat and basically do what they did in order to gain the status that they had. As you became a thought leader yourself, you may have stopped looking to others for advice and mentorship. That is a big mistake. No one person is large enough that they can’t learn from others, and as a thought leader who wants to keep being heard, you need to continue listening.
Some thought leaders who do all the right things and earn a sort of “celebrity” status may believe themselves to be invincible and develop a bit of an ego. After all, they’ve gained a large following and people look up to them. But, a little humility goes a long way towards keeping your initial voice intact. Rather than act like the all-important person that you may well be, the most successful leaders let their modest character and intelligence continue to take the center stage.
The best thought leaders are always learning and growing, as well as teaching and engaging.
If you found this article interesting, you may also enjoy reading the other articles I’ve recently posted on Executive Outlook about Thought Leadership. Please feel free to share these articles with your network.
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