Though this coming Tuesday’s election coverage dominates most of the media, I managed to find some incredible reads under all of the analysis of the Obama versus Romney showdown.
Since I first heard the term “thought leader” two years ago, I’ve been trying to get to a clear, concrete definition. Leigh Buchanan’s “Become a World-Changing Thought Leader” definitely helped me to do just that. Buchanan interviews Ned Ward, VP of a New Jersey PR firm, who says, “I would define a thought leader as someone who stands above subject-matter expertise and is an authority in their field” (Source). A few qualities of a thought leader are credibility and a proven track record; teaching ability so as to train others; passion; and clear goals both in their industries and high above… Ward says thought leaders want to change the world (Source).
The class I teach emphasizes the importance of professional communication, and being able to successfully communicate with others using the written, verbal, and visual mediums allows people to rise to that thought leader status. Ward says that thought leadership “requires a passion for and a commitment to spreading ideas that can help others” (Source). The only way to spread ideas and to move people, as we know from Nancy Duarte, is to be able to communicate and present your ideas in a way that resonates.
And Nancy Duarte is one of two people who I think of when I hear the term “thought leader.” Her website is committed to celebrating her vision and passion. Her most recent blog entry was written by Duarte Design’s Paula Tesch. “Get Noticed in a Noisy World” focuses on Michael Hyatt and his recent book. Hyatt’s ideas give thought leaders a way to stand out in the media-saturated culture we live in and to focus on spreading your ideas in a way that moves people. Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World is a thought leader’s “how to” guide, and I immediately put it on my must-read list.
The second person I think of when I hear “thought leader” is Garr Reynolds. Reynolds will be in London this week for the Presentation Zen European Seminar (learn more here). Phil Waknell of Ideas On Stage published an article this week that proves Reynolds’ status as a thought leader. Reynolds established a “Tweet up” before the seminar. Waknell explains the event: “Garr also sees this [time in London] as an opportunity to meet like-minded people, fans etc, so each year we also organize a ‘tweet-up’, which is simply a time and place where Garr’s fans can come along, buy a drink and chat with him. No tickets, no entry fee, nothing formal – just a meet-up, but organized via social media, hence the name ‘tweet-up’” (Source). The “tweet-up” is an amazing idea that uses social media to bring people together to celebrate big ideas. If only I were in London this week, I would love to meet both Garr and Phil! If you’re abroad, click here to join in on the fun.
Who do you think of when you hear the term “thought leader?” What qualities do you think a thought leader must possess?