7 Steps to Becoming a Thought Leader (Part 1)
If you’re interested in advancing your career, it’s likely you need to become a thought leader in your profession or industry. What is a thought leader? A thought leader can refer to an individual or firm that is recognized as an authority in a specialized field and whose expertise is sought and often rewarded.
Sounds a little overwhelming, but it may be more do-able than you think.
In one of our recent newsletters (“Did someone Else Get Your Promotion?” on June 7, 2017 or find it on our website, TactfulSelfPromotion.com), we introduced Natasha who, missed out on an international assignment because not enough executives in the firm knew her well enough. Her story illustrates how she worked her way to being a thought leader and how ‘do-able’ this is.
- Write an article that gives you an entrée to meet with executives in your company
After getting her boss’s support, Natasha started to write an article on how to prepare for a successful international assignment. She did some excellent research, so she was prepared for some in-depth discussions with senior executives. Her boss helped her by making introductions to several executives in the company, who were happy to meet with her – and she got their okay to come back with questions; she sent them each a thank you note with a copy of the article. One executive even invited Natasha to join an informal group of senior women who meet for wine after work. Natasha published an article in the company online newsletter, which was well-received.
- Post the article on LinkedIn and other spaces
Natasha took the same article and posted it her LinkedIn profile, and also posted links to the article in relevant LinkedIn group discussions and other blogs. She also could create a post with a link to the article on her Facebook page if she had a lot of professional friends on Facebook. Natasha also could email a copy to a select group of professional connections with a comment such as: “This article just got published in XYZ and I’m excited to share it with you!”.
- Expand network into your industry or profession
After her initial success with her in-house article, Natasha focused on writing an article on trends in global marketing. This was a good choice, because even though she doesn’t have a lot of international experience, she wants to be known in this area. She decided to use the article as a reason to reach out to some global marketing leaders in her field so that could discuss general trends, help her focus on a topic, and identify content for her article (of course, having done excellent research before-hand). Natasha’s approach integrates her need to build a network in the global space and to become known by some movers and shakers. Who knows – some of these people might become her mentors or employers, or both. In addition, it gives her a piece of collateral material (the article) to promote and an entrée she needs to initiate relationships.
Natasha eventually got her international assignment, and when she returned, she felt she was ready for a bigger job, or maybe to go out on her own as a consultant.
Check back with our next newsletter for steps 4-7