Someone asked me this week, You’re a thought leader. How can I become a thought leader? Can you teach me?
I had to think about this for a bit. I’m on auto pilot, spouting all kinds of counsel all the time. But I guess I never stopped to think about what makes me a thought leader. So I thank the person who asked the question for asking me to think about it and put pen to paper.
What is the one thing you are an EXPERT at and can speak for an hour about?
I know, deep down in my bones, I’m great at putting on excellent events. It’s something that I’m incredibly passionate about. I could talk about it for hours. I also spend a lot of my own free time researching interesting and out-of-the-box adventures for myself. Everyone around me knows that, and is more than happy to ‘have Joya plan stuff.’ I’ve also been planning events for my women’s movement professionally for 8 years. I have the experience to back it up.
I’ve spent almost 20 years as a business news television anchor. I can speak to how to be a better public speaker. I’ve had to do it in front of millions of people everyday. I can also speak to how to get media coverage and what constitutes a bad pitch, because I’ve been on the receiving end of so many.
For the last 8 years, I’ve built a networking platform for women executives. I am constantly educating myself on the space. I spend a lot of time reading female leadership books such as Sally Helgensen’s “How Women Rise” or Fran Hauser’s “The Myth of the Nice Girl.” Daily, I’m listening to audio, listening to other speakers, CEOs, authors, and thought leaders. I spend a lot of time asking women in my membership about what keeps them up at night. I’m interviewing other thought leaders who have written on topics such as ‘finding your voice in the workplace.’ All of these daily activities are additive to my capabilities as a thought leader.
A thought leader publishes content on the ONE thing they are an expert on. A lot of it.
I do it everyday, so I know that pumping out content each day is WORK. But all the tools you need to be come a thought leader are FREE and available to you at a consumer level today. Linkedin. Instagram. Blogging tools. Twitter. But—you have to be consistent and publish good content.
Why do it? I like to think about Gary Vaynerchuk’s story. When he first started posting videos daily about his father’s wine inventory, his father’s liquor and spirits NJ store was making $3 million. After 5 years of posting videos everyday, the business went to a valuation of $60 million.
Daily, I’m sharing collateral that helps to build the LadyDrinks brand. I’m sharing interviews I have done with other women leaders. I’m sharing interviews I’ve done with my members. I’m writing blogs on LinkedIn. I’m writing a weekly newsletter. I’m writing posts on Instagram. I”m recording podcasts. I’m recording myself sharing a tip of the day. I’ve connected with some really wonderful people as a result of this
A thought leader isn’t afraid to share their personal story
I often joke, when I was online dating, that men would come into the first date knowing WAY more than they should because they Googled me. One line would be the ‘tell’ he had seen my Tedtalk. In the talk, I share about growing up in a home of domestic violence, leaving that home, building my own path to becoming a tv anchor, and the sponsors and mentors I enlisted along the way. I’ve told my own personal story, that with pure grit and persistence, I achieved the goal I had since I was four. The story informs why I do the women’s work I do today. It also gives viewers a few more handles with which to relate to me.
A thought leader is a resource for others.
I joke that I should leave what I’m doing and become a concierge. Because everyone from my members to my own boyfriend will ask me, Hey I’m on 34th and 1st, where should i take my client for dinner? Or I’m turning 40, where should I go on vacation? I’ve built a network. I’ve built a treasure trove of resources, because I’m naturally curious about my world. Folks know that, because I post about all the places I like to go and places I travel to. And so now I”m seen as a resource.
I hope this article helps you.
To learn more about my women’s initiative LadyDrinks go to www.ladydrinks.com
To get in touch with me, email firstname.lastname@example.org