Wednesday, January 16, 2013

4 Ways to be an Leader in Your Field

It is no secret that most people want to buy from the people and companies who are seen as leaders in their field.

We might pay someone we know who is a little less than an expert to help him or her, but we really prefer to hire someone who is an expert to do the job.  If you're the leader, you're often seen as the expert.

How can we become THAT leader?
  1. Find Someone to Mentor
  2. Write Articles
  3. Give Talks or Demonstrations
  4. Promote Other People

Let's look at each one more closely.

1. Find Someone to Mentor

Try to find someone who wants to learn things you know.

Don't worry about whether you know EVERYTHING about your field.  You know SOMETHING.

First of all, you CAN show this person what you know.

What ever you don't know, you can learn so that you can teach your new protege.

Finding someone to mentor will do the following:
  • Builds your confidence (Yes, you really do know more about this than someone else!)
  • Firms up your knowledge (We'll realize that we forgot more about the basics than we realized.)
  • Increases your brand power (New protege refers to you as "the expert" or "his mentor.")

2. Write Articles

At first, I was really intimidated by this prospect...until I realized how easy it can be.

As you are learning something new, SHARE it.  Explain this "new" concept in your own words.  Each person has his (or her) own understanding of a new concept.

Do not simply rehash things you just learned.  Explain how you understood it.  Help people understand how you see this as something that is helpful.

Ideally, try out this new concept before writing about it.  Include what you did and what you learned in this article.

How did this new concept help you?

How can you see this new idea helping someone else?

When you write articles like these, they really ARE your articles.  You're not just copying from an online version of an encyclopedia and pasting it into an article with your name on it.  Your experiences are unique, and so is your understanding of what it is and how it helps people.

When you write articles like these, YOU become a unique leader, and you become the expert.

3. Give Talks or Demonstrations

How do you look at speakers?

Most of us assume that they are authorities in their field.  We look at them as leaders, often without knowing whether they're truly successful or they're actually struggling.

While they are talking, you see them as being the authority.

Many people reading this are probably thinking something like, "Yeah, but I don't really KNOW anything well enough to give a talk about it."

First of all, you probably do.  Just like I mentioned in the "Articles" section, you always know more about something than someone else.

If you don't know something, SCHEDULE YOURSELF TO TEACH IT.

See Also: Want accountability? Teach a class!

No matter what, you need to prepare, anyway.

Truthfully, I've learned that demonstrations are pretty easy to give.  If I use something pretty often, a demonstration just gives me a chance to talk to someone else while I am doing something I might do for myself, anyway.

People are happy, because you took the time to show them HOW to do something they wanted to know but couldn't (or wouldn't) figure by themselves.

When your presentation is NOT a demo, then simply explain things as you learn them.  Make it clear why you thought that this is valuable for you.  Offer suggestions about how your ideas might help people who are not as familiar with your topic.

There are plenty of groups who want to bring attention to themselves but don't have people to give presentations.  Offer to give a talk or demonstration.

Examples of potential places to speak might be...
  • Colleges
  • Networking Groups
  • Chambers of Commerce
  • Libraries

Now that group has a crowd, and you have a chance of being seen as a leader by a group of people.

4. Promote Other People

I've written a lot about promoting other people.  It's a true passion of mine.

See Also: Marketing Tip: Promote Yourself Indirectly by Promoting Others

Pertaining to THIS topic, when you promote other people, your name gets connected with people who have larger reputations than you.

I've had many people assume that I knew more than I did, because I knew someone bigger than me who they knew.  They saw that I promoted that person, and they took for granted that I must be in a similar echelon as that higher-up.

Sometimes, that might be true...Most of the time, that only happens afterward.  Some people I promote notice what I am doing and become more curious about me.

Leaders hang around leaders.  Now, hanging around a leader alone does not make you a leader, but it increases your chances of being perceived that way.

Truthfully, by promoting other leaders, you will start to notice things leaders do.  If you're smart (and want to become a leader), then you will start doing some of those same things.

You will seem like a leader, because you will BE a leader.

How can you NOT be an expert at that point?

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