In 2013, users sent 500 million tweets and uploaded 100 hours of video to YouTube each day. Statistics like these prove how difficult it is for professionals to spread the word about their ideas. Getting the message out is a lot different from being heard.
So how does one get recognized in a noisy world already saturated with so much knowledge?
Marketing strategy consultant and professional speaker Dorie Clark shared key tips for establishing oneself as a thought leader at her recent webinar. During “Speak Up, Stand Out: Tips for Becoming a Thought Leader,” Dorie emphasized two overarching pieces of the puzzle: including intellectual content behind your idea and embracing an entrepreneurial mindset to gain followers.
But first, you need an idea, and a good one at that. Here are Dorie’s three steps to discovering what you can give to the world:
1. Make Time for Reflection
Dorie tells us to scratch out the notion that multitasking equals productivity. It’s quite the opposite!
“We need to go against what our gut is telling us. We need to carve out blank space,” she says. “You don’t need time to have a great idea, what you need is space.”
By more space, comes clarity and reflection. You don’t need to invent a new idea. You need to be able to find something that’s not getting the attention it deserves and work with it so that people become aware of why it’s so important.
2. Change Your Perspective
After 10 or 20 years at a company, you’ll most likely be steeped in a particular ideology or methodology. The trick, says Dorie, is to question what you’re doing. Ask if it’s the best way or simply habitual.
“If you’re not consciously trying to bring in ideas from other fields, there are other opportunities and options you may be overlooking, simply because you aren’t asking these questions,” says Dorie.
Previously, professionals were valued by the number of years they spent at a company or in a certain field. Today, that has shifted. Now, it’s all about different perspectives and the ability to bring new viewpoints to the table.
3. Look Around You
The biggest, most frequent problem Dorie sees is a lack of confidence.
“It’s not that you have to be some sort of genius or expert. If you tap into your unique ideas or experiences, that is where your leadership can come from,” she says. “We all have something different and distinct to contribute to prove our value to employers.”
One example Dorie brings up is Question Box, a nonprofit that connects rural villages to accessible information with the touch of a call button. For example, farmers could call up and ask how to treat an ongoing crop disease affecting their land. Founder Rose Sarita Shuman’s idea for this initiative sprang to life after seeing a call box and connecting it back to what she saw on a family trip to Nicaragua.
Finding that unique idea is a lot simpler than a lot of us are led to believe.
“All of us can be regular people and draw on our interests and passions to stand out and be helpful in our companies and in the world,” says Dorie.