October 23rd, 2014
By Mindy Gibbins-Klein
In the recession, many businesses forgot about marketing, especially any kind of strategic marketing of their leaders. But it is a well-known fact that people buy from people, particularly people they like. Which is why more business leaders and owners are starting to realise the importance of being seen and heard, even sharing personal views on key issues.
We’re now seeing this reflected in the open communication style prevalent in blogs, social media and even books written by business leaders. People see the leader is engaged, so they feel engaged and they are more likely to do business with that organisation.
Now more than ever, business leaders and executives should be making a big impact by being bold and opionated in order to stand out. They need to be able to share their experience and knowledge on key issues because this helps them rise above their competition.
After years of keeping personality out of business, the kind of openness and vulnerability this demands is unchartered waters for many, and that’s what is preventing them from making headway. Yet time and time again, I see truly inspirational thought leaders lurking in the shadows when they should be up their on their soapbox demonstrating why they are the leading light in their field or simply communicating the brand of their organisation as a good employer.
Quite simply, if you don’t have have a speaking, writing and publishing strategy, you are not fulfilling your responsibility as a leader. Your opinions and beliefs are just as important, if not more important, as your experience or knowledge and it’s fine for executives to share opinions as long as they let people know that’s what they are.
You can’t be ‘wrong’ when you are stating an opinion. You only open yourself up for others to disagree with you if they feel like it, but supporters will feel closer to you. What is no longer possible now is never letting your team, your staff or other stakeholders know what you think about important issues. If you do, you come across as bland, boring or similar to others in your field.
Many executives I work with think they are too busy to be writing and publishing articles and blogs, or posting updates on social media. They don’t realise how easy it is to put together a content strategy and then involve other key leaders in the business, as well as marketing and PR teams to deliver the content. All the clever business leaders I know create the content strategy, then delegate and outsource many of their communications, including blog and article writing, social media posts and updates.
There are some things only the executive should be doing, though. These things include coming up with the strategy and key messages (based on the company vision but, as mentioned above, also that executive’s unique viewpoint and added value). The executive is also the only one who should be engaging on a direct level via social media (for example, broadcasts that turn into dialogue, and comments on other blogs and online groups. It is too dangerous to delegate your thinking to someone else! And I think it is safe to say that only the business leader himself/herself is able to do their own public speaking engagements and videos!
As a key leader in your organisation, you need to consider cranking up the boldness in your message and getting it out more widely, letting people see that you are visible, vocal and involved. So, are you ready to be bold and get a better ROI on your efforts as a leading executive in your industry?
Image via shutterstock.com
About the Author
Mindy Gibbins-Klein is a speaker, author and thought leadership strategist. Her book 24 Carat BOLD: Claim Your Position as the Expert in Your Field outlines the four attributes found in true thought leaders.
Founder and CEO of REAL Thought Leaders, The Book Midwife and Panoma Press, Mindy has authored and co-authored seven books. She is also a regular contributor to the business press on thought leadership and raising your profile.
For more information on Mindy, see www.mindygk.com