Why it’s thought leader not thoughts leader
A question occurred to me the other day. Why are people called thought leader as opposed to thoughts leader?
Ultimately when you are a thought leader you are actively trying to get the person to think differently about a number of things. You are usually not trying to change other people’s minds on one solitary idea. So, why doesn’t the term thoughts leader make sense.
The truth is that thought leader works because every effort to create change in someone’s mind needs to be based on one core idea. The truth is that people will only think differently when we get them focused.
We can learn a critical point from this. Nancy Duarte and her team emphasize what is the big idea? This is about focusing the other person’s mind on one essential message. By doing so, all of your central and peripheral communication is in service of this idea.
Think of it like branding. If you brand yourself effectively, people know you for something. If you don’t, people associate you with too many things. Thought leaders must not just brand themselves well, they must brand every piece of content. Whatever they do should be based around a singular message. This is what TEDx talks all do quite well.
If you’re writing a LinkedIn post, book or delivering a keynote, consider what the key message is that you are trying to put across. By doing so you give yourself the chance to make a real impact on the person consuming your content. If you have too many things in there, they’ll struggle to know what to pay attention to. When they struggle, they’re not going to follow your lead. When you keep things clear, you’ll direct their attention consistently.
Always ask: what am I trying to say here? That one question can be really invaluable.
P.S. Have you had a chance to listen to this week’s podcast episode yet? I think it is a good one where I discuss why we can choke when performing and strategies to help you overcome this. You can check it out here.