Many thought leaders simply don’t know how to talk about their content. It becomes obvious in formal sales conversations as well as less-formal social settings.
We’ve all been at social events where we run into that person – someone so passionate about themselves that they dominate the conversation. You try to shift the topic subtly and add your insights, but they’re so deep in their own world that they can only hear their own voice.
After a couple minutes, you’re looking for a way to gracefully exit the conversation. After ten minutes, you’ll invent family emergencies—a sick aunt or a rabid pet hamster—so that you can get away.
Thought leaders seem particularly at-risk for becoming that person. And if you think about it for a moment, it’s almost predictable.
People become thought leaders, experts with a unique point of view, because they’re passionate about a topic. They actually like to think about it deeply. And they’re eager to talk about their thought leadership insights.
It’s okay to show a little enthusiasm! A little bit makes someone interesting, but too much enthusiasm becomes a bore.
When many thought leaders build their sales and marketing narratives, they make a critical mistake. They begin the narrative by talking about “me, my content, and I.” That’s a great way to encourage people to hit the back button or look for a quick exit from the conversation.
If you want to become more effective in the business of thought leadership, you need to become a better conversationalist. You need to create room for others to join the conversation. Even better, you need to focus your attention on the other people in the room. Listen, and build a bridge between their pain points and your content. Don’t assume that connections which are obvious to you will be obvious (or even remotely interesting) to your buyer.
Take a moment to ask yourself the following questions about how you engage others:
How do your websites and marketing collateral create room for your buyer in the conversation?
Do your presentation decks and proposals focus on your expertise or your buyer’s needs?
What’s your ratio of talking-to-listening in sales presentations?
Just because you’re passionate doesn’t mean that buyers will be interested in your topic. You’ve spent years thinking deeply about your content and mastering its nuances. But, if you want your ideas to spread and make an impact on the world, you need to turn the spotlight away from you — and even away from your topic. You need to focus the attention on others.
In Episode 2, Peter and Nadia Bilchik discuss the essential skills thought leaders need to be found online. Nadia shares her expertise in building a strong personal brand based on networking with authentic relationships and how to be a valued connection to your network.
In our inaugural episode of Leveraging Thought Leadership, Peter Winick and Chester Elton, acclaimed speaker, co-founder of The Culture Works, and New York Times bestselling author of The Carrot Principle and the The Best Team Wins explore the impact of positivity in business. Listen in as they discuss building responsive and engaging thought leadership content to take the business beyond the book or speaking engagement to real growth and sustainability. Learn new strategies for creating adaptable content that is accessible to all audiences and when to transition from speaking to training.
Hi! This is Peter Winick. I am the founder and CEO of Thought Leadership Leverage. Do any of you remember the Ginsu knife commercials back from the 80s? I do. The promise of the Ginsu knife is that it did everything! It sliced. It diced. You could cut a steak. You cut a can of soda. You could fillet a cat. I don’t know why you’d want to fillet a cat. But it was one of those promises that it made. Why do I bring up the Ginsu knife other than I’ve been thinking about the 80s lately? That’s not why.
The reason I bring it up is I all to often too many speakers trying to Ginsu knife their content. They try to pack so much into that forty minutes that they’ve got with the audience, so much thoughtfulness, so much of their twenty years of experience, so much of ten books that they overwhelm the audience. That the audience comes out of there flooded and not knowing what to do.
It may feel counter intuitive to you but the best speakers, the best authors, the best thought leaders that I know bring their work down to a level where it is really really simple. There might be only be two or three takeaways from a keynote. But they are two things that are actionable. They are two things that I will remember as an audience member three weeks, six months, a year later. So don’t Ginsu knife your content. Take it down to the two or three things that I, a busy participant, as a busy audience member can actually do something with and it will create more value for you, your brand, and them.
Hi! This is Peter Winick. I’m the founder and CEO of Thought Leadership Leverage. And I wanted to share with you today something that I’ve seen many many many smart people, many many world renowned authors thought leaders and speakers do that I just don’t agree with. What I mean by that, is they’re in the process of writing their book, they’re in the process of launching the book, and everything in their business revolves around the book. They allow the book to be the tail that wags the dog. The book needs to be one part, one small part of your overall strategy, one small part of your business model, one small part of your lead generation system, one small part of your productization strategy.
It’s easy to get sucked into book world. It’s easy to get sucked into deadlines and the demands of a publisher, and the demands of a publicist, and the excitement that it takes to get a book out in the world. But take the time to pull back and think about how you’re taking advantage of all the things, and all the opportunities, and all the situations that by doing this book you’d like to get your business to.
Hi! This is Peter Winick. I’m the founder and CEO of Thought Leadership Leverage. One of the things I ask clients when I first start working with them is: When was the last time you revised and updated your strategy? When was the last time you took time out time out from your very busy schedule and took a strategic pause, and took the time to analyze and think through your strategy as it relates to where you are today and where you’d like to go? What I find incredibly interesting is many, many, many of my clients come to me when I ask them that question, they start to tell me about the tactical things that they’re doing, about the new things that they’re doing from a tactical perspective. They’re doing something new on social
media. They’re doing something new for lead generation. They’re developing new products, offerings and solutions. And I say to them, “That’s great! But if you’re all you’re doing is executing tactically faster against a flawed strategy, you’re wasting energy and effort.”
So I advise my clients to take the time and effort to stop. Which is really really hard to do in the fast pace that we move in. Stop. Pause. Devote the time, devote the energy, and devote the effort into a strategic alignment. Make sure that the strategy that you’re operating from today, assuming that you have one, is aligned with where you want to go and that the tactics are supporting it.
Hi! This is Peter Winick. I’m the founder and CEO of Thought Leadership Leverage. And I want to talk to you today about a common mistake that I see authors thought leaders and speakers from around the world do. And what they try to do is make their content so broadly appealing, so relevant to everyone that in essence what they’ve done is watered it down and make it relevant to no one. You’ve got to make your content relevant specifically to a target market, specifically to a niche, specifically to a certain type of person: be that demographically, be that psychographically, be that by profession, be that by level in their career. And you need to start there and then build up. If you start at the high level, if you start by making your content so inclusive, what you’re actually doing is making it less likely that I’m going to be engaged in it, as someone that has a specific need.
Hi! This is Peter Winick. I am the Founder and CEO of Thought Leadership Leverage. And what I want you to think about today, is your content doing what it should do? And what I mean by that is are you enlightening people, are you guiding people, and are you inspiring them as a result of being exposed to your content? So what do I mean by that?
Enlightening them means you’re exposing to something new, something different, a way of thinking about the world that they may have not thought of before. That’s a valuable thing for people and you need to bake that into the work that you do. It needs to inspire them because typically by taking on something new, by taking on some new content and doing something. There’s a little bit of a risk involved there. There is of an uncertainty there. There is a little bit of a challenge to people.
You have to inspire them that it’s worth the effort. You have to inspire them that by putting in the thoughtfulness and the thinking and work that goes involved in mastering some of your content that it will inspire them to do something different, to do something better, to see the world in a new way that makes their jobs easier. That makes them more proficient at a competence that they were trying to master.
The next thing is that you need to guide them. What do I mean by that? You need to guide them by saying that if they take on this thinking, if they internalize what you’re writing about, what you’re thinking about, what your speaking about, what will it do for them? What can they do with that? Where will it take them?
Hi! This is Peter Winick. I am the founder and CEO of Thought Leadership Leverage. Everything we built at the firm is designed with you in mind. We do everything from developing strategies for our clients, to developing the brands and platforms that are significant and important to them. We then move forward and develop a wide variety of products, offerings and solutions that are derived from your content, your models, from your intellectual property. And then we move all the way forward and develop the business. We can work with you to develop the brand, to build out the products, and to build the business for you.
Hi! This is Peter Winick. I’m the founder and CEO of Thought Leadership Leverage. And today I want to encourage you to piss more people off. Well, that seems like an odd statement. What do I mean by that? I work with a wide variety of authors speakers and thought leaders from around the world. And one thing that I see in the greatest of the great is they are not afraid of the reaction that they’re gonna get for putting their content out in the world. If you are putting out thoughtful insightful new creative content you will piss some people off and that’s okay.
If you’re trying to placate everyone, if you’re trying to not offend, if you’re trying to make sure that everybody falls in love with you and your content, you’re just gonna water it down to the point where it’s dribble, to the point where it’s useless.
So don’t dilute your content. Don’t sacrifice what you believe in. Put your work out there and as a byproduct of that if you piss a couple people off, that’s okay too.