“May I Have Your Attention, Please?”

People have a limited amount of attention that they are willing or able to give, and this needs to be shared amongst all of the people competing for it. Just think about your Inbox for a second. Does it fill up with unwanted emails, newsletters and other demands on your attention as well as your time? Of course it does, and it is the same for your clients.

Let’s assume for a moment that people are not paying the right amount of attention to you and your business. You have several choices. Firstly, you can shout louder. This is the knee-jerk reaction that most business owners make. They begin to bombard their market with more articles, more newsletters and emails. They put more and more emphatic and dramatic wording into those communication tools and chuck them at the market at an accelerated rate.

In this competitive market, there seems to be more companies than ever in your industry, all competing for the same – or reduced – business. The market seems to have taken a sudden turn and is in fact now demanding companies to stand out in other ways. So what can your business do to stand out from the crowd? Get yourself established as the best thought leader in your field!

Thought leadership can win you more business, and all it takes is for one person to recognise that they have those qualities. Once you have established yourself as a thought leader there is real scope for you to transform your business.

I developed my own standard for thought leadership, and discovered four simple steps to identify yourself as one. REAL thought leadership defines four key attributes which, if achieved, will give businesses a greater chance of being seen as a thought leader in their industry.

REAL thought leadership contains four elements:

  • REACH
  •  ENGAGEMENT
  •  AUTHORITY
  •  LONGEVITY

Reach simply involves the recognition amongst the community of would-be clients or customers. However, just being known is not enough. You need to be liked enough to trust, and we call this Engagement. This needs to be seen in you and when you achieve it, you are sure to stand out easily from the crowd. Simply having an Engagement strategy puts you ahead of most other organisations.

Then you must become a true Authority in your industry. This is what secures you as the trusted brand and no one else. In other words, you are beginning to stand out in your field. One of the best ways to is to begin to establish yourself as bold – boldness is what enables you to speak out with confidence about what your business has to offer.

Finally, Longevity depends on your ideas being remembered long after you have left a meeting or long after someone has read material of yours. Longevity means you and your organisation stay in people’s minds for the right reasons.

I have found in my work that the most difficult element to establish is Engagement.

Engaging with your potential customers is very difficult – particularly in an already overcrowded market. You could just shout louder to make yourself stand out, and continue to throw out more marketing material at any potential customer. But the problem with just doing more is that you are adding to the information overload which is already a problem for your clients. So approach number two is to be cleverer. I’m sure you can think of some television adverts which really broke the mould and got your attention. But can you name the brand from every advert? Not many people can, and that is because the message is not always relevant to us at that time.

I am convinced that Engagement it is the key to real connection with your clients and hence more business. You want to consider writing and speaking in a more intimate way, and share more of yourself in every communication.

As people share and are recognised as individuals with valuable ideas, the organisation experiences improved retention, especially of the most talented employees. Everyone knows what the company stands for, since it is clearly articulated at every level from the CEO or MD, to every employee, anyone can stand out for important ideas that add real value to your customers and clients.

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