Most people in the public speaking business (and also other experts) call themselves thought leaders in a certain area. It has become a big buzzword and it looks like that even somebody who has read two books around a topic call themselves already a thought leader. Combining a few definitions, I would say that a thought leader is the informed opinion leader – an authority and go-to person in their field of expertise. I would add that a thought leader is aware of the latest innovations in their field and is on the frontline of exploring new trends in their expertise.
Curator & Simplifier
The curse of knowledge.
Learn from your heroes.
Different layers in one message.
The Yes stands for suspending your judgement. I start with a cartoon to explain the concept of an ideakiller [layer 1]. Then I ask the question if they can share an ideakiller with their neighbour and I collect 3 or 4 examples in a plenary way [layer 2]. At that moment, everybody will get a beer coaster with a red (ideakillers)/green (idea boosters) side [layer 3]. The next step is an interactive exercise from improvisation theatre where people form pairs and go for 1 minute in the Yes but mindset and 1 minute in the Yes And mindset – I let them experience the power of thinking in Yes And [layer 4]. And the last step is that I make the whole exercise easy accessible and pragmatic by explaining the 3 minute rule [layer 5]. It’s such a simple concept but by allowing my audience to explore the concept in 5 different ways, it becomes a very powerful tool. At almost any conference where I can present, I get an email afterwards from an enthusiastic participant who shares that the 3 minute rule and the beercoaster with ideakillers was the highlight of the event (and sometimes it’s a 2 or 3 day event).
Back to the Essence.
My biggest insight that I got during the last month is that I have to stick to the essence. I’m good in curating content from others, select some elements that resonate with my message, finetune the message for my audience and make it as simple as possible. And that’s what I’m now also doing with my new talk ‘Great Leaders Improvise’. Instead of trying to overwhelm my audience with all kind of trends and examples in leadership, I distillate the main message and try to integrate several layers to that message to make it stick. Still a lot of work needs to be done. I hope I inspired you a little bit to explore your Essence (of your message) again.
PS: Title is inspired by the great Netflix documentary about ‘Tony Robins – I’m not your guru‘ (worth watching)
PS 2: If you want to know more how you can get to the essence with your message, please read the book ‘Made to Stick’ – written by Dan and Chip Heath. They came up with the ‘SUCCESs’ which stands for Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Emotional, Story. Those elements help to bring a story back to the Essence.