A thought leader, in any industry, is the intelligent, trustworthy and reputable expert who knows everything that there is to know, inside and out, about their field. Whenever an issue arises and people are in dire need of an expert opinion, or need a forecast about the future of the industry, they always turn to the thought leader, and this opinion is considered greatly. They are noticeable from a distance and are greatly respected by their peers. However, coming to that designation and earning the respect of one’s coworkers and peers is not easy, but with the right skill set, it is achievable. Here are a few tips on how to become a thought leader in your field:
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Educate Yourself Thoroughly
If you really intend for people to take you seriously and to actually listen to your ideas, you should educate yourself thoroughly on everything there is to know about the field that you are in. If there’s one thing that differentiates an expert from an amateur, it’s the fact that an expert will always speak from experience.
This is the reason why thought leaders are taken seriously, as their theories and ideas are not just textbook material, but in fact they are ideas based on their past experiences in the industry and their knowledge of the way the industry works.
Conferences give you a great deal of exposure and are likely to position you as a rather authoritative figure in your field if you get the chance to speak at one. Holding a conference will definitely get you a great spot on the list of thought leaders, or you can even ask to speak at one, depending on the relevance of your subject. People within your industry as well as your potential customers are likely to be impressed, especially if you deliver.
Be an Inspiration
Often times, thought leaders are dubbed to be arrogant and relentless individuals, which may create a barrier between them and their peers. This is because leaders in most firms and industries are rather cynical and have a low tolerance for mistakes that might be made somewhere along the way, but thought leaders are generally very different and highly liked individuals.
However, by being an inspiration rather than a threat to your peers, you might be able to form much better relationships within your network and also improve communication. Improved communication between the thought leader and their peers may also result in intelligent brainstorming of all sorts of ideas, and that can be of great benefit to you and your industry and lead to faster problem solving.
The key to being a great thought leader is having sufficient knowledge and knowing how to incorporate it and apply it to your industry in a way that is unique and professional.