Thought leadership is all about customers, but more importantly, it is about conversations. In other words, it is a two-way process. Sometimes you talk, and sometimes you listen. Research shows, however, that most of us don’t really listen when someone else is talking. Instead, we are thinking about what we’re going to say next. The same is true of many thought leadership candidates.
Like all conversations, thought leadership benefits from better listening skills.
Listening can help you to gather better competitive intelligence, both from Twitter, and other social media. You can discover what your customers, competitors and peers are saying about you and each other without moving from your chair.
There are a number of tools and techniques you can use to simplify the process of listening. These include Google Alerts to scan the internet on your behalf, RSS to keep up with specific websites and blogs, and Buffer, to bring everything together in one place.
Remind your candidates that there is a reason why we have two ears and one mouth: we should do twice as much listening as talking (or broadcasting on social media). Reading and thinking about other people’s content is also an important part of thought leadership.
It is also important to remember, though, that asking your candidates to listen by themselves may not be helpful. Instead, incorporate ‘listening champions’ into your thought leadership programme to encourage others, and share the insights that they have gained from their listening.