10 Strategies Stop Acting Like an Expert and Start Being a Thought Leader

This is all Google’s fault.

Think about it:

We have unlimited shelf space on which to share our ideas.

We have ubiquitous and instantaneous access to infinite knowledge.

We have completely democratized information, entertainment and media.

We have shattered the barriers to entry for previously impossible endeavors.

And we have allowed choice saturation to flatten the playing field, thus making thousands of niches as economically attractive as the mainstream.

THE RESULT: Everyone’s an expert.

Literally. I don’t mean that in the cliché sort of way.

WHAT I’M SAYING IS: With the right tools, the right resources and the right strategy, pretty much anyone in the world could position herself an expert (on anything!) in about a month.

Which brings me to my thesis:Experts are morons.

Just think about the last time you watched the news.

For seven minutes, you were subjected to the verbal diarrhea of some “expert” who invited himself onto the show to shamelessly promote his mediocre book written on the latest “hot issue” that he did a bunch of amateur “research” on but never actually experienced himself.

That’s an expert.
Anyone can be one.
And it’s no longer going to cut it in the marketplace.

HERE’S THE REALITY: If you want to reach the people who matter, if you want to deploy your message into to the marketplace, and if you want to create some serious change that moves the needle of the world, being an expert is not the answer.

Instead, I challenge you to be a thought leader.

What’s the difference between the two?

I’m glad you asked.

1. Definition. An expert is a person who has special skill or knowledge in some particular field. For her, it’s all about the person, her brain and the wisdom that comes from it. A thought leader is a trusted source that moves people with innovative ideas. For her it’s all about the message, its cause and the tribe that sustains it.

2. Nomination. Experts are experts because they say they are. It’s all about marketshare. And all you have to do is go to their website to see how much of an expert they claim to be. Thought leaders are thought leaders because the world says they are. It’s more about mindshare. And all you have to do is go to Google to see how much of an expert the marketplace claims them are.

3. Disposition Experts are smart, creative people who have lots of ideas. And they accumulate knowledge from other people’s resources for the purposes of memorization and monetization. Thought leaders are intellectual, innovative people who actually execute ideas. And they extract universal truths from their own experience for the purpose democratization and exploration.

4. Content. Experts memorize facts and technical knowledge. They lick the seal and tell you what to think about the envelope. Thought leaders notice connections and patterns. They push the envelope by ripping it open and challenge you to rethink your illusions about what’s inside of it.

5. Surroundings. An expert is an island. He puts himself up on a pedestal above the audience. And he capitalizes on the power of his brain to put a stake in the ground. A thought leader is building a following. He builds a platform to cement an ongoing relationship with his audience. And capitalizes on the power of his community to push the ideas forward.

6. Structure. Experts assign formulas. Their material is non-updatable, unshakable and inelastic. Their attitude is inflexible, choreographed, canned, insincere, inauthentic and preplanned. They’re often resisted, debated and create defensiveness. And their rigid, rote learning limits people’s possibilities and stifles their creativity. Thought leaders suggest practices. Their material comes in the form of simple, doable and human actions. Their actions insinuate instead of impose. They’re adaptable and applicable to various situations and individuals. And their work is easily digested, self-evident, non-threatening and encourage people’s creativity.

7. Derivation. Experts are answer-driven. They’re finished learning the material. And they puke regurgitated wisdom, give excellent book reports and peddle plagiarized insight. This helps them make money. Thought leaders are question-driven. They lead the dialogue on the evolution of the material. And they deliver actionable lessons that passed through the test of their personal experience. This helps them make history.

8. Publishing. Experts have written. They published their knowledge – at some point in the past – because was good for their career, attracted some attention and left a trail of digital breadcrumbs back to their website so people could hire them for high-end consulting jobs. Thought leaders are always writing. And they continue to syndicate their wisdom – every single day – because it contributes to their ongoing body of work, validates their existence and leaves a literary footprint to inspire future generations to execute what matters.

9. Delivery. Experts prove themselves; thought leaders express themselves. Experts strive for approval; thought leaders allow for refusal. Experts proclaim their superiority; thought leaders embody their fabulousness. Experts demand their rights, thought leaders deploy their gifts. Experts talk smack; though leaders do acts. Experts play to the crowd; thought leaders play for the sake of playing. Experts win with lip service through swell argument; thought leaders win with foot service through swift action. And experts advise people from the outside; while thought leaders inspire people from the inside.

10. Modality. The final differentiator between an expert and a though leader is the overall approach they take to life and work. First, experts believe things. And talk about things. And sometimes even do things. And they survive on a steady diet of orthodoxy, or, the right thoughts. They practice what they preach, but the message they preach isn’t necessarily the dominant truth of their life. Thought leaders, on the other hand, simply are. It’s less about believing and talking and doing and more about just being. They survive on a steady diet of orthopraxy, or, the right actions. They preach what they practice, and the gap between their onstage performance and backstage reality is non-existent.

That’s why I challenged you to stop acting like an expert and start being a thought leader.

Because that’s what it really comes down to:

Experts persuade, pontificate and profit through doing. Because they’re full of themselves.

Thought leaders inspire, infect and influence through being. Because they’re sharing themselves.

Take your pick.

P.S. Special thanks to all the thought leaders on my Facebook page whose ideas helped inspire this post!

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Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Entrepreneur, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

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12 Ways to Lead a Potent, Productive and Profitable Thought Life

If you want the marketplace to recognize you as a Smokin’ Hot Piece of Brain Candy, “thinking” is not your main responsibility.

Thinking is merely the residue of leading a potent, productive and profitable thought life.

Want to learn how to have one of those?

I thought you might ask.

1. Take intellectual initiative. Most people’s thoughts are somebody else’s. Don’t let this happen to you. Mindless acceptance is the yellow brick road to the Wonderful Wizard of Chaos. Before taking action on your brainstuff, ask yourself three questions:

Is this thought really mine?
Am I living someone else’s mechanical thoughts?
Am I bound and limited by the thoughts others have formulated for me?

Remember: Your thoughts need to be yours. If you don’t take control of your cognitive faculties, someone will gladly do it for you. How diligently and proactively are you taking ownership of your thought life?

2. You get exactly what you’re willing to receive. Let’s take creative inspiration, for example. If you want to become a relentlessly open container in which the world can place its ideas, you’ve got to: (1) invoke the muse to come, (2) honor the muse when it arrives, and (3) thank the muse when it departs.

That way she will gladly return tomorrow. And who knows? Maybe she’ll stay longer next time. But only if you’re more receptive to her whispers. What is your ritual for summoning the higher creative forces?

3. Book blank time. In 2006, PBS ran a special called, Warren Buffett & Bill Gates Go Back to School. Recorded on college campuses nationwide, unedited in front of live audiences, Buffet and Gates simply sat on a stage and answered questions. That’s it. Coolest program ever.

One of the lessons I remember both billionaires sharing was their daily dedication to booking blank time. No meetings. No calls. No nothing. Just space to think. Every day. Based on their combined net worth, I’d say profitable would be an understatement. How much time each day do you sit uninterrupted and quiet with just your thoughts?

4. Be determined to spread the truth you discover. Doesn’t matter if it’s thee truth – just your truth. The point is: Thoughts are useless if kept captive inside your head. Learn to release them in – one pebble at a time – into the pond of life. The ripples will come back tenfold.

As long as you resist the Whoami Syndrome: Who am I to share this thought? Who am I to publish my opinion? Well, just ask Technorati: The web’s leading cataloguer and researcher of blogs. According to their annual report, there’s a new blog created every second. Every second. That’s 86,000 new blogs a day. What’s your excuse?

5. Conversations are laboratories. I have lunch with Smokin’ Hot Pieces of Brain Candy at least once a week. It’s like balm to my soul. Fuel for my brain. And here’s why: Talking makes you think. Thinking makes you write. Writing makes you create. Creating makes you ship. Shipping makes you money. Q.E.D.

If you’re looking for a creative boost to attract more ideas into that big juicy brain of yours, start using conversations as tools. Here are four lab rules to remember when cooking up something new in your conversational laboratory: (1) Increase your frequency, (2) Take more notes, (3) Ask better questions, and (4) Become a plucker of good ideas. Whom did you have lunch with this week?

6. Solvitas perambulatorum. This is the Latin term for solving problems in the process of physical exercise. It’s the perfect way to tranquilize the mind without using pills or powders. Here’s why: Exercise clears your mind, stabilizes your emotions and levels your perspective. It contributes to an increased production and release of endorphins. That results in a sense of euphoria that has been popularly labeled as the “runner’s high.”

What’s more, pumping rhythmically and repetitively also pumps the well of your creativity. That’s why walking, swimming, running and cycling work so well. Hell, I’ve written entire books in my head on eight-mile runs. Even Thomas Jefferson, who was known for taking two-hour walks every day, implemented this practice religiously:

“The sovereign invigorator of the body is exercise, and a strong body makes a strong mind.” Do it daily. Do it rhythmically. Do it intentionally. Stretch your legs and you will stretch your brain. Did you work out today?

7. Think about your thoughts. All Smokin’ Hot Pieces of Brain Candy know how to spy on themselves. If you haven’t already implemented a system for doing so, consider asking yourself (or posting on sticky notes around your office) the following self-evaluation questions:

(1) Do these thoughts serve me or hurt me? (2) Will these thoughts bring me peace of mind? (3) Am I thinking a thought that will stress me out? (4) Do all the thoughts in my head get along with each other? That way you can keep a watchful eye on what you allow to enter into your headspace. Are you mindfully monitoring your thoughts or allowing them to dictate how you behave?

8. Transform your interior landscape. I will now summarize every self-help book ever written: “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” That’s from The Bible. You may have heard of it. Now, I think it’s fair to say that the concept is common knowledge. Unfortunately, that doesn’t make it common practice.

Your challenge is to customize a daily practice of saturating your mind with successful thoughts and keeping your internal conversations in alignment with success and fulfillment. What seem to be your most productive thought patterns?

9. Save the smarties for Jeopardy. No disrespect to Alex Trebeck, but the world has too many smart people and not enough intellectuals. You don’t need to accumulate facts – you need to explore ideas, extract universal truths from your experiences and apply them to anyone, anytime, anywhere.

My mentor, Bill Jenkins, is one of the great intellectuals I know. He explained the difference between the two as follows: “Smart people study content for the purposes of memorization. Intellectuals entertain ideas for the purpose of democratization.” True Smokin’ Hot Pieces of Brain Candy accomplish the latter. Are you an intellectual or just really smart?

10. Release your thoughts. Even if you never publish a single thought in your life, relocating them from your brain to the page is paramount to the potency of your thought life. First, writing is the great clarifier. You don’t know what you know until you physically write it out.

Secondly, writing is the great organizer. Until you see your words on a page, flipchart, dry erase board or sticky note, you will never realize the inherent geometry of your thoughts. The brain is a self-organizing system, and most of the logistical work has already been done. You just need to experience it visually.

Finally, writing down your thoughts makes them public in your mind. By virtue of relocation, your brain instantly relaxes because it doesn’t have to remember anything. Whew. What did you write today?

11. Stay incessantly commitment to observation. There never ceases to be an inexhaustible source of living water. All that’s requires is that you poke about the world, stay quietly fascinated and look with the right pair of eyes.

You also need to ask questions like: How do these ideas relate to my life? Is there a method of thinking or a metaphor implied that I could adapt to my own world? How does this fit into my theory of the universe?

Remember: Creativity is nothing but active listening. If you find yourself blocked, perhaps you should have your hearing checked. Are you a great noticer?

12. Never neglect your non-thought life. As profitable and beautiful and essential it is to be a thinker, don’t forget to balance your thoughts with non-thoughts. Incorporate regular time each to go perpendicular. Even if it’s just for five minutes. Play music. Meditate. Practice yoga. Work in the garden. Whatever.

Return to your sanctuary of non-thought to refresh, rejuvenate and air out your brain. You will return with strength. Remember: If there’s not enough whitespace around your grey matter, your head might explode. How much time do you spend each day doing the opposite of thinking?

REMEMBER: Thinking is not your main responsibility.

Leading a potent, productive and profitable thought life is.

I think.

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Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

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6 Ways Make Yourself into Human Lightning Rod of Creativity – Without Scorching Your Skull or Frying Your Fro

According to the U.S. National Weather Service, the odds of being struck by lightning in your lifetime are 1 in 6,250.

I like those odds.

In fact, I believe that’s the BIGGEST secret to a successful creative practice.

Making yourself more strikeable.

I first learned about this concept from my pal, Don The Idea Guy. Possessing creative powers beyond those of mere mortals, Don rescues those in need of innovative ideas through his brainstorming sessions, articles, websites, books and presentation. He’s been interviewed by the New York Times, quoted in FastCompany, and served as the first president of the International Idea Trade Association.

When asked about how to become more strikeable, he wrote:

“Waiting for inspiration? Puh-leeeze. You may as well wait for lightning to strike. As a matter of fact, you’ve probably heard a flash of brilliance described that way – as a lightning strike. And the worst offenders of this ‘wait-and-see’ approach to inspiration are the people who’ve experienced a flash of insight in the past.”

“And I’m not saying the occasional lightning strike doesn’t happen,” said Don, “I’m just saying the odds are against it.”

The secret, then, of making yourself more strikeable, is to make yourself into a human lightning rod.

“Lightning rods provide an easy path for creativity to find its way to your brain, but you gotta be holding them – using them – in order for the creative lightning to strike YOU instead of dissipating harmlessly into the ground,” explained Don.

Here is a collection of practices for making yourself more strikeable:

1. Make room. Often times the problem of a creative mind is not the lack of ideas, but an over abundance, says Don. “There are so many ideas swimming around in your noggin that you don’t know which one to act upon first. It can get congested up there, and if you don’t find a release valve your brain can get more clogged than a summer sinus infection.”

Your challenge is simple: Make sure everything you know is written down somewhere. You memory is a moron. Don’t depend on it. Get every idea down as soon as it comes to you. Don’t judge whether or not it’s good. Just get it down. Because if you don’t write it down, it never happened. And you can’t use what you can’t find.

2. Position yourself to be struck. The U.S. National Weather Service also reported that out of the thousand people that are injured by lightning each year (oddly enough, most of whom live in Florida, aka, “The Lightning Capital of the World”), one third of all injuries occur during work, another third of injuries occur during recreational or sports activities, and the last third occurs in diverse situations, including injuries to those inside buildings.

Therefore: The secret is putting yourself in the best possible position for lightning to strike. After all, you can’t expect to be zapped while sitting on your couch every day. Now, I’m not suggesting you relocate to Florida. But getting out of the house and into the world is crucial component to supporting, enriching, inspiring and informing your work.

You GET ideas, as the raw materials for your work are everywhere. You SHARE ideas, as you bounce them off other for feedback. You ROUND OUT ideas, as new experiences add new dimensions to existing thoughts. Remember: Real art can’t be created in a vacuum.

3. Become idea safe. www.StruckByLightning.org is a Massachusetts-based non-profit corporation that promotes lightning safety. Their mascot, Leo the Lightning Lion, says that prevention is key. “No place outside is safe in a thunderstorm,” he said. Now, he reminds kids and adults alike of this truth with a variety of memorable slogans. So, what I’ve done is flipped each one with a challenge question as it pertains to becoming more strikeable:

• “When thunder roars, go indoors!” What are the signs of a brewing creative storm, and how do you respond to them?

• “Don’t be lame, end the game!” Are you quitting too early during your creative sessions, thus preventing the best ideas from surfacing?

• “Don’t be a fool, get out of the pool!” How often are you swimming in your pool of ideas?

• “Use your brain, don’t wait for the rain!” Are you waiting on inspiration or depending on discipline?

4. Creativity is a function of awareness. In the Wikipedia entry about lightning,, I also discovered this piece of trivia: “Pine trees usually stand taller than other species, which also makes them a likely target for lightning strikes. Additionally, factors that lead to its being targeted include: High resin content, loftiness, and its needles that lend themselves to a high electrical discharge during a thunderstorm.”

Pine trees know what they’re doing. They have all the characteristics of a strikeable plant. The question is: What attributes do YOU embody that make you a likely target? Don suggests awareness as the essential element:

“I used to believe my primary source for attracting creative ideas was curiosity. It turns out that attribute most of my idea generation to awareness – simply being attuned to what’s happening around me and absorbing these influences and seeds of ideas into my mind.”

Therefore: Think of your brain as a magnet. Invite innovative influences as metal shavings, collect enough metal and you can create a helluva lightning rod.

5. Discard evaluative tendencies. Treat every idea, every experience and every thought with deep democracy. I learned this practice from one of the coolest books ever written on creativity, Unintentional Music. Author Layne Arye suggests we value everything whether it was intended or not. “Let all the different parts of the idea express themselves and influence your creative decisions. Be deeply democratic by listening to – and valuing – all parts.”

Therefore: Stop telling yourself, “Well, if I don’t remember it when I get home, it couldn’t have been that important.” That, right there, is the fatal flaw. That, right there, is where most people go wrong. If you make an appraisal of your idea before it’s even written down, you’re assuming and operating on the assumption that how good or bad an idea is, (especially in the early stages of that idea’s development), actually matters.

It doesn’t. Good or bad means NOTHING. Assigning value to your ideas before they’ve been brainstormed, explored and expanded is a creative block. This causes you to fall victim to premature cognitive commitment, which prevents your idea from blossoming into its truest and strongest potential.

The idea isn’t “good.” The idea isn’t “bad.” The idea simply IS. That’s it. No adjectives allowed. Stop judging. Stop evaluating. Stop appraising. Write everything down, as soon as it enters into your brain. Don’t worry how amazing, how ridiculous or how insane the idea sounds, just get it down.

6. Learn to strike out. In my research on lightning, the most fascinating story was that of Roy Cleveland Sullivan (February 7, 1912 – September 28, 1983). He was a U.S. Park Ranger in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. Between 1942 and 1977, Sullivan was hit by lightning on SEVEN different occasions – and survived all of them.

Naturally, he earned the nickname “Human Lightning Conductor” and “Human Lightning Rod.” Sullivan is recognized by The Guinness Book of World Records as the person being struck by lightning more recorded times than any other human being. Interestingly, each of Sullivan’s lightning strikes is documented.

As you read these, consider the implications in terms of strikeabilty and how you might repeat parallel circumstances in your own creative practice. Again, each item is flipped with a challenge question:

• April 1942. He was hiding from a thunderstorm in a fire lookout tower. Are you standing at the highest point of visibility to expose yourself to the best creative light?

• July 1969. The lightning first hit nearby trees and was deflected into the open window. Whose creativity could you deflect into your atmosphere just by being around them more often?

• September 1970. While in his front yard, the lightning hit a nearby power transformer and then jumped to his left shoulder, searing it. What three “hot spots” – coffee shops, art museums, strip clubs – could you stand in proximity of to maximize strikeabilty?

• March 1972. Struck while working inside a ranger station in Shenandoah National Park. It set his hair on fire. When was the last time you set your creativity on fire? What kindling steps led to that? How could you repeat them?

• August 1973. While he was out on patrol in the park, Sullivan saw a storm cloud forming and drove away quickly, even though the cloud, he said later, seemed to be following him. Soon after, a lightning bolt struck him. What affirmations could you recite each morning that would attract lightning into your atmosphere?

• June 1976. He saw a cloud, thought that it was following him, tried to run away, but was struck anyway. What if, instead of running from the lightning, you partnered with it?

• June 25, 1977. Sullivan was fishing in a freshwater pool when he was struck the seventh time. The lightning hit the top of his head, singeing his hair, and traveled down burning his chest and stomach. What conductor could you immerse yourself in for an extended period of time to increase the chances of being struck?

Sadly, Roy Sullivan died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the stomach at the age of 71.

Upon hearing the sad news, his friends and family members were “shocked.”

REMEMBER: Lightning strikes twice, three times and ALL the time if you learn how to turn yourself into a lightning rod.

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* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

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8 Ways to Make Your Name More Invokable

“I invoke your name a lot.”

Now THERE’S a compliment.

If people start telling YOU that they’re telling others ABOUT you, congratulations.

That makes you invokable.

Not in a religious way or anything. I assume your clients, friends and fans aren’t setting up candle-lit shrines with pictures, newspaper clippings and locks of your hair in their bedrooms.

Wait. ARE they?

Nevermind.

THE POINT IS: Having someone “invoke” your name is exponentially more powerful, more memorable and more valuable than having someone just “say” it.

Here’s why: The word “invoke” derives from the Latin invocare, which means, “to call upon for help.”

Therefore:

When people invoke your name, they’re building your credibility.
When people invoke your name, they’re advancing your mindshare.
When people invoke your name, they’re enhancing your personal brand.

Ultimately, being invokable is a combination of being quotatable, remarkable, referable and aboutable.

THE CHALLENGE IS: How can you continually boost your invokability?

Because straight-up ASKING people to do so won’t work. Nobody is going to invoke your name just because you put in a request. Word of mouth is casual, unsolicited and authentic. It’s just like referability: The minute you try to force it, you lose it.

So, let’s look at eight ways to become more invokable:

1. Purple cows MUST give milk. Building remarkability into your products and services before they’re released isn’t enough. Baseline remarkability is only the beginning. You need preserve originalness by assuring that your unique value proposition has (some) transformational purpose connected to it.

The secret is advancing your name to the second level: Enduring remarkability. Here’s what that looks like:

(Remarkable) + Relevant + Worthwhile + Marketable + Substantive + Consistent.

Any name connected to those attributes will become impossible NOT to invoke. Are you remarkable but inconsequential?

2. Free is your friend. Speaking of purple cows. Seth Godin and Jeffrey Gitomer are two people whose names I invoke almost daily. And it’s not just because they’re my friends, but also because they freely distribute their wisdom. Everywhere.

Lesson learned: Don’t come off as someone with a sense of scarcity. It’s hard to invoke people who are selfish with their knowledge. Are people working energetically to favorably and publicly mention YOU?

3. Consider your own invocations. Next, think of the three people whose names you invoke most frequently. Ask yourself: What have they done – or what do they continuously do – that makes YOU so willing to drop their name? Is it because of their attitude and actions; or more of a foundational component like character?

Either way, your job is twofold: (1) Pinpoint that which drives their invokability, and (2) Challenge yourself to achieve similar standards in your own life. People will notice, and people will talk. Whom do you invoke regularly, and why?

4. Put yourself in invokable positions. In 2000 when I began wearing a nametag 24-7, I was a college student at Miami University. One of the first trends I noticed – other than the weird looks from strangers and the inability to get a date, EVER – was that my professors started calling on me during class a lot more.

And the strange thing was, I didn’t raise my hand more. I didn’t sit in the front more. I didn’t even study that much. But, by virtue of being the ONLY student in the entire class whose name was visible FOR the entire class, my invokability instantly doubled. Literally. Professors called on me for everything. Especially during those awkward moments when none of the students raised their hands. Professors would think, “Well, I guess I’ll just call on Scott again.”

Huh. Maybe that’s what happens when you put yourself in an invokable position: It’s sheer probability.

In fact, you wanna hear something kinda spooky? Fast forward to today, ten years out of college. The exact same trend of invokability happens to me when I take yoga class. Instructors – who have never had me in class before – will use my name constantly. And I’ll get these weird looks from the other students because they think I’m, like, sleeping my way to the front of the room. Which I’m not. Hell, I’m not even that good at yoga.

But the role of the instructor is to challenge and support the student’s practice. And it’s just easier to do so when there’s a guy with a nametag tattooed across his chest staring back at you. Lesson learned: If you want to be in the right place at the right time, you need to be in a lot of places. How many places are YOU in?

5. Stick yourself out there. My favorite Law of the Universe is, “Whatever you want to get, just try GIVING that thing first.” It works for pretty much anything: Love. Trust. Kindness. Referrals. Occasional dirty looks. And the cool part is, the same principle applies to becoming more invokable: Do it for others, and they will do it for you.

Start by becoming an invoker yourself. Period. Now, one word of caution. Steel yourself against the temptation to become one of those incessant, name-dropping bottom feeders who spends WAY too much time hitching free rides on the coattails of others. People will assume you can’t think for yourself, and you will lose. Are you willing to ante up first?

6. Become a known entity. The next way to boost invokability is to create a game plan for remaining on people’s radars. This helps you achieve what I call “Radar Equity.” And it begins by asking yourself five questions:

a. Whose radar do I want to be on?
b. What do I want to happen as a result of being on it?
c. Who do I know that is already on that person’s radar?
d. What steps have they taken to get there?
e. What actions could I take to emulate those steps?

Remember: The secret to Radar Equity is that you have to EARN the right to be on it. That means publishing. That means social networking. That means OFF-line networking. Whatever it takes. How can you position yourself so thousands of people whom you never met will get to know you instantly?

7. Stop occupying the middle. People will recall and invoke your name if the philosophy attached to it is unexpected and non-template driven. Your challenge is to build an original, fertile and uncommon Theory of the Universe. Your strategy is to maintain contrarian positions to as many subjects as you can. And your action item is to make a list of all the conventional wisdom, traditional principles and standard operating procedures you disagree with or oppose to. Is your thought leadership position a waffle?

8. Thank your invokers. When people invoke your name – either in person, during a presentation or somewhere online – ALWAYS thank them. Send an email, instant message, wall-to-wall on Facebook or tweet them a direct message. Tell them you appreciate the kind words.

And, in your daily Gratitude Journal, be sure to write down the invokers you’re thankful for that day. I do it every morning. EVERY morning. And it works. Remember: What you appreciate, appreciates. Who did you thank today?

Ultimately, becoming more invokable is about achieving mindshare, not marketshare.

Start executing these strategies regularly. Find the ones that work best for your business model. And I promise your invokability will start to build PROFIT-ability.

Then maybe you can FINALLY finish that Scott Ginsberg shrine you’ve been working so hard on.

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Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

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How Thought Leaders Can Create an Unquestionable Knowledge Base

As a Thought Leader, you need to be a master of your subject.

That means staying relevant.
That means always challenging yourself.
That means constantly updating, refining and deepening your expertise.

IN SHORT: You need to be able to talk forever.

That’s always been one of my favorite pieces of wisdom: You need to be able to talk forever. And I’ll never forget the first time that sentence profoundly penetrated me:

Denver. February 12, 2007. National Speakers Association Winter Workshop.

A man named Mike Harrison, a veteran from the broadcasting industry, delivered the lunch keynote. Irreverent, brilliant, grizzled, Mike shared powerful wisdom from fifty years of award-winning broadcast excellence.

Namely, his days working at a radio station with Ronald Reagan.

As Mr. Harrison explained, during one game between the Cubs and Cardinals that was tied 0-0 in the 9th inning, the telegraph went dead.

Without as much as blinking, Reagan smoothly improvised a fictional play-by-play until the wire was restored. He wasn’t even there and millions of listeners had no idea.

Because Ronald Reagan could talk forever.

What about you? Could YOU talk forever?

I hope so. Your role as a Thought Leader depends on it…

Here’s a list of four strategies for creating an unquestionable knowledge base.

1. “Have I written about that yet?” The moment you learn something new, pause and ask yourself this question. The moment an insightful thought comes out of your mouth casually (yet brilliantly), pause and ask yourself this question. And the moment someone else says something relevant that hooks you in, pause and ask yourself this question. See the trend? (Dean Jackson and I talked about this in our latest podcast on Marketing Monday. Check it out!)

Now, most of the time, you’ll know immediately whether or not you’ve written about something yet. See, writing comes from a deep place: Your Being, Your Core. Your Truth. So, whenever you’ve written something – that is, clarified, explored and expanded your thoughts on paper – those ideas become permanently etched into your consciousness. They’ve entered the matrix, so to speak, and they’re there forever.

IN SHORT: When you write it down, you make it sound.

Because if you don’t write it down, it never happened.

Ever. That’s the converse. And it’s the number one mistake made by creative professionals, writers and thought leaders worldwide: They don’t write everything down. If there’s one piece of feedback I’ve given to every client I’ve ever coached, this is it.

Now, that doesn’t mean you need freak out if you come across a thought or idea that you haven’t written about yet. Just pause for a moment, capture the key point or theme in your journal or on a napkin, then return to what you’re doing. You’ll write about it later. For now, all that matters is that you get it down. What did you write today? Is everything you know written down somewhere?

2. Create a system for staying constantly relevant. The word “expertise” contains the same Latin root as the word “experience.” This means that, as a Thought Leader, you actually have to DO stuff, every day. You actually have to leave the house, venture out into the world and broaden your thinking. Expand your references. Practice.

Let me share my personal plan for staying constantly relevant. As you read these strategies, ask yourself what YOU could be doing to maintain an unquestionable knowledge base:

o I wear a nametag 24-7. This keeps me constantly relevant for when I conduct workshops and seminars about approachability. What do YOU do everyday?

o I write for 4-7 hours everyday. This keeps me constantly relevant for when I coach other writers on content generation and content management systems. What did YOU write today?

o I grow my business a little every day. I make career development a daily activity. This keeps me constantly relevant for when I publish articles and blog posts about how to grow your business. What specific action did YOU take today to grow your business?

o I read five books a week. This keeps me constantly relevant as I elevate my position as a Thought Leader. What did YOU read today?

o I meet new people; make friends, post blogs, tweet and network everyday. This keeps me constantly relevant for when I produce video modules and customized learning systems on internetworking, entrepreneurship and marketing strategy. Did YOU leave the house today?

REMEMBER: If your knowledge base is dependent on some outdated accomplishment that’s no longer impressive OR applicable – like when you won the bronze medal for the Triple Jump in the 1988 Olympics – people aren’t going to listen to you. Because you’re not relevant. What you did twenty years ago doesn’t help your clients make money TODAY. What have you done lately? What did you do YESTERDAY that deepened your expertise?

3. Read everything else written on your topic. You need to know – or at least, know OF – related ideas of other Thought Leaders in your industry. That doesn’t mean you need to agree with them. That doesn’t mean you need to memorize their books line by line. But you DO need to be aware of them.

HERE’S WHY: If someone asks you, “So, you consult on patient care, huh? Have you read the book Healing Words by Dr. Larry Dossey?” and you say NO, your stock just went down in their mind. You are no longer the perceived expert in their mind, which results in their questioning of your knowledge base.

So, here’s simplest, most practical secret for sidestepping this Thought Leader landmine. It’s the strategy I personally implemented in my own business about seven years ago and hasn’t failed me since:

Read five hundred books.

Yep. You heard me. Five hundred. I guarantee you that whatever your area of expertise is, between Amazon, used bookstores and local book fairs, you should be able to find (at least) five hundred titles on that topic. Easy.

Here’s a fantastic exercise to get you started: Go to Borders. Put your stuff down at a table. Head over to your favorite section and pull out EVERY book that catches your eye or looks interesting. Try not to think. Just react.

Next, bring the books back to your table. (You may have a few dozen.) Then, take out your notebook and start scanning. Not READING – scanning. Not plagiarizing – scanning. Big difference. Look at subheadings, chapter titles and boldface passages. Skim around, extracting key ideas that relate your expertise. Fifty books in three hours? Not bad.

NOTE: You’re not actually going to buy any of these books. This is a library day. It’s research. I call it “Fishing.” And it’s a perfect practice for flooding your brain with hundreds of ideas to deepen your expertise.

That being said, you should probably buy some coffee and a muffin, just so you don’t feel like a complete cheapskate. What did you read today? How many books did you read last year?

4. Constantly add and explore new dimensions. Go deeper. Return to your work and figure out what’s evolved since you first wrote it. Recast working assumptions. Go back and discover what you’ve changed your mind about. Add new angles. Make it into a sequel. Hell, make it into a trilogy. Better yet, make it a series! Add textures and contours and layers to the matrix of your idea. Think broadly by seeing as many relationships as possible between (seemingly) unrelated concepts.

This practice is called cognitive flexibility, in which you gain the ability to see at least three angles to any idea.

For some Thought Leaders, this is a challenge – and it’s because of their gargantuan egos.

They’re afraid to admit that they didn’t cover everything the first time. That they don’t know everything there is to know about (x). That someone else might have additional insight they overlooked.

BIG mistake. Even Van Gough once said, “Great art is never finished.”

So, you expand your idea as much as you can until there’s nothing left and nowhere else to go – at least, for now. Then, when you go back to introduce these new strings of thought, your idea becomes richer, more whole and more resonant.

HERE’S THE STRATEGY: Listen to your casual fans. Friends. Strangers. Relatives. Watch how they respond as you accidentally (or intentionally) “try out” a new thought, observation or chunk of material.

Think of it as informal, unscientific market research. Write down what worked; take not of any additional dimensions your fans add. See what people laugh, marvel, shake their heads or flinch at. These little test runs are the perfect venue to validate the potential of your new ideas.

NOTE: Just make sure you’re not overtly rehearsing or practicing or “doing shtick” all the time. Be conversational. No need to go into your entire new routine in the middle of dinner. Just hurl a few noodles and note what sticks. What’s your sequel? What dimension of your idea haven’t you addressed yet? And how often are you returning to old ideas in order to grow them?

REMEMBER: The prerequisite for Thought Leadership is being a master of your subject.

I challenge you to: (1) Write everything down, (2) Create a system for staying constantly relevant, (3) Read EVERYTHING and (4) Constantly add and explore new dimensions to your ideas.

If you can do that, you’ll develop a knowledge base that is unquestionable.

You’ll be able to talk forever.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How are you adding value to your knowledge?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “17 Ways to become a Thought Leader,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

The world’s FIRST two-in-one, flip-flop book!

Buy Scott’s comprehensive marketing guidebook on Amazon.com and learn how to GET noticed, GET remembered and GET business!

How to preserve your learning

Fantastic! You’ve just learned something new.

The next step is to preserve it.

So, here are the four things you need to do:

FIRST: Preserve your learning by evaluating it.

After all, we learn not from our experiences but from intelligent reflection upon those experiences.

So, ask yourself these questions:

*What else is like this?
*What did I just learn from this experience?
*How does this fit into my theory of the universe?
*Does this statement give me any insight about myself?
*How can the basic concept be applied to different areas?
*What went right/wrong/perfectly about what just happened?

SECOND: Preserve your learning by writing it down.

After all, if you don’t write it down, it never happened.

So, ask yourself these questions:

*How can I blog about this?
*What folder does this go into?
*What journal does this go into?
*How can I make writing a part of this?
*What list can I immediately make this into?
*What are the various ways I can recycle this intellectual property?

THIRD: Preserve your learning by teaching it to others.

After all, you learn something most effectively the moment you teach it to someone else.

So, ask yourself these questions:

*How can I teach this to others?
*Who else needs to know about this?
*What’s the Universal Human Emotion/Experience?
*Through which medium can I best teach this idea to others?
*Now that I’ve written about this, what else does this make possible?
*If everyone did exactly what I said, what would their world look like?

FINALLY: Preserve your learning by leveraging it.

After all, killing two stones with one bird is always the best business practice.

So, ask yourself these questions:

*Where can I use this?
*What else can be made from this?
*How can I make this last forever?
*How many different ways can I leverage this?
*How can I use this to add more value to myself?
*How can this mistake quickly be made into something good?

REMEMBER: Evaluate. Write. Teach. Leverage.

Preserve your learning today!

LET ME ASK THIS…
What’s your content management system?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For a list called “17 Ways to become a Thought Leader,” send an email to scott@hellomynameisscott.com and I’ll gladly hook you up!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

Still haven’t written your book yet?

Perhaps a friendly kick in the butt will help 😉

Rent Scott’s Brain today!


Well, yeah, but there’s a LOT of people who are smart ;)

“Why are they talking to THAT idiot?!” you scream at the TV.

“Channel 5 should be interviewing ME! I’m the smart one when it comes to that topic!”

Well, yes, that may be true. You certainly may be the smart one.

But there’s a LOT of people out there who are smart.

Which means being smart isn’t enough.

So, the real question is:

Are you funny?
Are you likable?
Are you unique?
Are you relevant?
Are you attractive?
Are you articulate?
Are you interesting?
Are you fascinating?
Are you remarkable?
Are you entertaining?
Are you positioned well?
Are you the Go-To-Guy?
Are you a Thought Leader?
Are you the obvious expert?
Are you speaking in soundbites?
Are you somewhat controversial?
Are you blogging every single day?

I hope so.

Because THAT’S the type of person the media wants.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What do you know that people would pay money for?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For a list called “17 Ways to become a Thought Leader,” send an email to scott@hellomynameisscott.com and I’ll make sure YOU”RE the one the media interviews next time 😉

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

Enjoy this post?

If so, perhaps I could help on a more personal, one-on-one basis.

Rent Scott’s Brain today!


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