How do I become a thought leader in my industry?

In the world of manufacturing, the term “thought leadership” is an ever-present buzzword that transcends industry. People perceived as thought leaders often speak at conferences, maintain blogs, and write extensively on topics pertinent to their audience. More importantly, thought leaders engage in the sharing and discussion of ideas that influence the thoughts of others and help people achieve success.

But what does it really take to transform yourself into a thought leader? While you might not become the next Seth Godin or Jim Tompkins, it’s definitely possible to drive conversation and influence key people in your industry. The following characteristics can help you not only be perceived as a thought leader, but engage with others on multiple levels that can propel your ideas forward.

Enhanced Storytelling: Stories are the first step to connecting with your audience on a personal level. Begin with a hook, then dive into details to which you feel they’ll respond. Anecdotes from your own life often serve as great backdrops, descriptors, and metaphors for the larger message you may be trying to convey.

Quality Curating: Thought leaders know great content when they see it, and many have the impulse to share it with others. Think about what topics are important to you, then research different aspects of them. Determine which publications and sources are the most relevant or credible, then put them out there for the world to see – it will only add to your credibility.

Leveraged Networks: While your expertise alone may be important in some areas, becoming a thought leader is also about who you know. It’s crucial to stay connected to key figures inside (and outside) of your industry, as there are some who can help you tell your story and share your ideas in a meaningful way. After all, this is why Linkedin and other social media platforms have been so successful for existing thought leaders!

Individualism and Credibility: The value of a unique and trusted voice cannot be understated in the world of thought leadership. No matter your audience, location, or enterprise, conveying your competence plays a vital role in growing your support base. Tone also matters, so it is recommended that you find a balance between being relatable and being an expert with all the answers.

Developing these qualities requires a huge commitment and may not come easily to some. However, turning yourself into a thought leader in your industry can empower you and ultimately take your company to new heights of success.

Not only is MAGNET a champion of manufacturing in Northeast Ohio, but our organization also promotes the idea of thought leadership and the discussion of ideas in various industries.

Want to know how MAGNET can help your business?
Call Linda Barita at 216.600.1022 or email

MAGNET is a part of Ohio MEP, part of the NIST-MEP program.

Posted by Liz Fox in Thought Leadership

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