TED Talks, Ignite, and Steve Jobs created a new art form—the thought leader talk. While we tend to idolize our favorite TEDx speakers, the real news is that you—yes, YOU!—can be a thought leader in your industry. In fact, investing the time into crafting provocative presentations might be the most worthwhile thing you can do to bolster your business to new heights.
Thought leader talks are a little different than a persuasive or educational speech. It’s not a sales pitch, a motivational speech, or an informational presentation, but something completely different. A thought leader talk can be a story, or an exploration of new ideas. Thought leader talks can be very personal. Above all, a thought leader talk needs to offer your audience new insights and challenge conventional thinking.
Creating talks like this can be challenging, but the rewards for putting the time and energy are incredible. Here are just a few ways that thought leader presentations can expand your influence and supercharge your business.
- Increased opportunities: Thought leader talks can position you as an expert in your field. The more you demonstrate your knowledge, the more you can attract bigger clients and larger opportunities. In effect, you’re probably not going to make bank as a speaker or generate millions from your YouTube channel. But by creating useful, intriguing content, you’ll be building up your credibility and professional reputation, all of which is great bait for attracting those bigger fish.
- Connection: Attracting clients is one thing, but it’s just as important to attract other like-minded people who can help you along your way. It’s not just about getting “likes” and shares. Your talks may help you to get in touch with people outside your network, find new resources, and find an expanded base of support.
- Professional Development: When was the last time you pushed yourself to learn something new, or took the time to read about new trends in your industry? If you’re like me, a little thing called “work” tends to get in the way. But if you’re planning on being a thought leader, then educating yourself is critical.
- Having “thoughts” does not necessarily mean that you’re a leader. Even the sharpest minds need to explore new perspectives, learn from others, and read…read a lot. Being a thought leader means that you must do your research, learn something new, and apply your ideas to different contexts. No matter if one person or a million people see your talk, taking the time to learn and reflect is more than what many do. Your business is sure to reap the benefits when you educate yourself and critically test your ideas.
Remember, you don’t need to be invited to the stage to be a thought leader—everything you need is right inside the gadgets you use everyday. Set up a YouTube channel, create a podcast, and get out there!
Greta Perel, Ph.D., is a speechwriter and writer based in Overland Park, Kansas. She’s worked with C-suite executives, entrepreneurs, nonprofits, and TEDx speakers to help them persuade, motivate, and WOW! their audiences. She can be found at www.gretaperel.com, or on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/gretaperel.