It’s important to get your thought
leadership angle just right. It’s a matter
of considering your message, method
and market at the same time and creating multiple clusters of specialization;
for example, speaking to Realtors®
on cash flow; training salespeople on
developing product conviction; or facilitating leadership retreats on increasing
You can accomplish these things
at the same time and still take advantage of the power of specialization.
You just need an overarching message
context that hangs them all together.
This context becomes your “word” and
the aligning thread across all of your
diverse specializations. The word, for
example, could be “influence.” This
word is not always marketed, but it
gives you a lens for viewing the world
and a filter for you to speak through.
What’s your big meta word?
Individuals or organizations that are recognized by peers, customers and industry experts as someone who deeply understands the
business they are in, the needs of their customers, and the broader
marketplace in which they operate. Thought leaders have a distinctively original idea, a unique point of view or an insight.
rich examples, while appealing to
logic and emotion simultaneously.
• Be relentless and consistent. Anyone
can have one or two thoughts, but
thought leaders don’t stop at one or
Put Yourself in Last Place
Here’s a final word on flipping the
focus from the speaker to the message.
Audiences today need three core questions answered in this order.
• Why is this message important to
me? (If you provide a good answer,
they will move to the second
• Why is this message urgent now?
When you nail the “Why this?” and
“Why now?” questions, you can
move to the next question.
• Why are you the person to deliver
Many speakers mistakenly approach
their presentations by delivering the
answers to these questions in reverse
order. First, establish credibility, then
create a sense of urgency, and then flip the
focus from the speaker to the message. Do
this and you are on your way to being a
Matt Church is the founder of Thought Leaders Global, creator of the Million Dollar Expert program, and author of several best-selling books on the topic.
Church co-wrote Thought Leaders with
Michael Henderson and Scott Stein, which will
be released in this month. Enroll in his weekly
newsletter on thought leadership at www.
mattchurch.com or learn more at www.
Move from Expert to Authority
• Claim a space. You need to step
beyond of the broad categories of
expertise and own a message niche.
For example, Don’t just do leadership; do ‘decentralized’ leadership.
• Broadcast regularly. Write
weekly newsletters, daily blogs,
micro blogs, a white paper a quarter,
a book a year.
• Get ready for criticism. If you are a
thought leader who pushes the envelope, people will push back. Take
the criticism as confirmation of your
move from expert to authority.
• Extend the thinking in a particular
field. Don’t be a thought repeater.
Get beyond plagiarism and think
deeply about what you want to say.
• Get in the game. Contribute to (“Yes,
and…”) and contradict (“Yes, but …”)
the thoughts of others. Comment on
their blogs and be active in forums
and industry journals.
• Think full spectrum. Appeal to big-picture thinkers and those who need