Starting the conversation…
What is the business of thought leadership and how do we really use it?
Why does being the go-to resource matter to business development?
Host: Jess Dewell
Guest: Annalisa Parent
What You Will Hear:
Wrapping up events is important for positioning what’s next.
Tell your story well – in every situation.
Thought leadership is a conversation.
When do we really have the expertise to be a thought leader? (Hint: we don’t get to decide.)
What it takes to build the depth of experience.
Think up front.
Every decision has a shape.
Recognize failure and the fear of failure.
There is always uncertainty.
Get comfortable with ambiguity, and use the power of problem solving.
Live Audience Question: I understand the concept of thought leadership, but how do I rise above the noise using that approach when every other person claims to be one, too?
Know what you value and talk about it.
#VBBRadio Audience Question: What is the role of personal branding (of a leader) in marketing positioning and business growth?
Rejection is great! It is as great as acceptance.
Test outside of yourself – get another set of eyes and different experiences.
Your message must resonate with others.
Live Audience Question: Don’t get me wrong I know there are no shortcuts to becoming an industry leader, but where should I start?
Choose one message and approach for your story.
It is BOLD to recognize to add value and be a thought leader as well as a strong representative for your company.
BONUS! #VBBRadio Audience Question: I hate creating my own content, but I can see myself being a podcast guest or something similar, what is the best way to approach and pitch.
Notable and Quotable:
Annalisa Parent 5:41
Th ere are a lot of other thought leaders out there, and people in the business sphere, who will say, “You need a book.” Yes, you do need a book, but you need a certain kind of a boo. You need to tell your story well, because if it’s not, nobody wants it.
Annalisa Parent 6:10
And if you’re going to bother to write a book, which is a huge undertaking, let’s make it a book that tells your message well, so that people will engage with it. That’s ultimately the goal of the book. It’s not to have this block of dead trees with your name on it.
Annalisa Parent 7:19
A good book is a conversation.
Annalisa Parent 7:39
Not only should it be a conversation, but it’s also a time machine. Someone on the other side of the world could read my book, and be having a conversation with me, while I’m sleeping.
Annalisa Parent 7:59
When I talk about telling your story well, that concept of dialogue rather than monologue, is one of the really important things. When we tell our stories, we have ways that we can continue and turn it into a conversation.
Annalisa Parent 9:31
We can all stand on a soapbox and shout and hope that somebody’s going to listen. Ultimately, what’s going to determine whether or not you will be listened to is the value that you’re creating in the marketplace. Are there people who want to hear what you have to say? Are you providing value to them in a meaningful way? And that’s going to have to do with your level of expertise.
Annalisa Parent 10:02
Now I’ve gone through dog training with my dog, but that doesn’t make me a dog trainer. Having the level of expertise where you can say, “I have gotten successful results, I can repeat that, I can teach that methodology to someone else. I’m an expert.”
Annalisa Parent 13:28
Clear thinking leads to clear writing.
Annalisa Parent 13:46
It’s a lot easier to switch up your thinking at the beginning than to start rearranging chapters. Then you have to delete chapters and that becomes like killing your darlings.
Annalisa Parent 14:12
I’m all about winging it, and figuring it out on the fly. But let’s have a plan before we jump in there.
Annalisa Parent 16:08
It was Nelson Mandela, who said, “I don’t lose. I either win or I learn. ” Seeing quote unquote, failure in that framework, I think is a really important part of this thing that we do every day, and what allows us to be bold.
Annalisa Parent 16:28
What does it mean to be bold? It means coming to terms with fear, and especially fear of failure.
Annalisa Parent 16:42
I supposed to have like an anxiety attack over this perceived failure? No. Like, wow. Okay, I learned something there. Not going to do that one again.
Annalisa Parent 17:03
Even the value judgment around success being good, and failure being bad can go away too. Because there can be moments when a perceived success actually wasn’t the right option.
Annalisa Parent 18:26
The uncertainty never goes away. It just changes. And when you’re starting your business, you say, “What am I doing? Why do I want to do it? Who do I serve?” You have all these really fundamental questions. And the temptation there is to think, “Oh, as soon as I figure that out, I’m going to have this figured out.” Well, there are new questions, at the next level, and then new questions at the next level. The state of being a business owner is a state of uncertainty.
Annalisa Parent 19:04
Punch in at nine o’clock and punch out at five o’clock, and those would be the terms of engagement. The terms of engagement for owning your businesses is, ” Agggh, what’s going on? Okay, I know a little bit, but there’s a whole bunch, I don’t know. Okay.”
Jess Dewell 19:24
The higher up you go in an organization, the less certainty there is?
Jess Dewell 19:54
While nobody really likes uncertainty, that’s where the possibility is. That’s where the wonderment is.
Jess Dewell 20:25
There’s always change. There’s always opportunity. So it’s up to us to figure out by I think in your head.What are we looking for? Does it fit into what our opportunity could be? And is it worth us to go after it when it shows up, because we have the structure of where we’re going, in a plan, a strategy, figuring out what we need to know, to be able to have a plan or strategy and share our experience through our own stories and our own communication?
Annalisa Parent 20:50
I think what we evolved into as business owners is understanding that it’s actually much more effective to start with a hypothesis than a concrete goal. So to start with the idea, I’m going to try things that make sense. But then I’m moving towards something that is more hypothetical than concrete. And ultimately, one I’m going to learn a whole lot. But in addition, I also open up more possibilities, because maybe there’s more out there. Maybe there are things that I never even imagined could be possible, that by looking at it more nebulously, I’m going to end up getting better results.
Annalisa Parent 24:38
What matters is, “What is the value that you’re delivering to your audience?” Value, value value?
Annalisa Parent 24:46
Life is a cocktail party, you do not want to be in the corner with the guy who’s says, “Let me tell you about me.” Nobody wants to hang out with that guy.
Annalisa Parent 25:11
Who do you want to be with at the cocktail party? The person who’s interested in you? The person who says, “So what do you do? Why do you do that?” That’s the person I want to hang out with. So be that person in the cocktail party of life.
Jess Dewell 27:30
If we don’t know what we value ourselves, we don’t know how to create value for somebody else. When we know what we value, we are able to talk about it. We prioritize actions around things that we value. And so if we’re not having that conversation, how do we even know where to start? How do we even know we have a system?
Annalisa Parent 30:16
The fundamental value that we build brands on is that your brand reflects the person that you want to be in the marketplace.
Annalisa Parent 31:15
The reason why authenticity gets weird, I think is because there’s a vulnerability there.
Annalisa Parent 31:30
So there’s the possibility of rejection. And again, here’s one of those like master level business moves. The thing that you learn after you’ve been in this for a while is that if people say “yes,” that’s great. And if people say “no,” that’s great. You want the people to be working with you who resonate with your brand.
Annalisa Parent 31:57
People will say well, how do I be authentic? That’s a weird question. What does it mean to be authentic? Well, you just be you. That’s what it means.
Jess Dewell 33:52
It’s fair to say, “The more rejection I get, the better I know myself.”
Jess Dewell 34:57
If I’m always responding with scarcity, or reacting poorly like, “Oh, my gosh, I didn’t mean to offend anybody”, or I find myself not saying something because I might be judged,? Well, guess what? You’ve hit up on your comfort zone of you’ve stopped being you at that point.
Annalisa Parent 37:36
One way that you can be authentic is to use the method that’s most comfortable to you. Especially in those initial stages, if you want to write it, write it. If it comes to you in short form, go with short form. If it comes to a long form,go with long form. Let’s not overcomplicate life, life is complicated enough.
Annalisa Parent 41:37
So much of being in business is a very binary thing. Did it work? Yes, no, and making the next decision, which is why I liken it to the scientific method, because we’re always building on what we learned in the previous stage to influence where we’re going to go in the next stage.
Annalisa Parent 42:04
There’s no to do list. There’s no checklist. There’s no, “Here’s how to become a thought leader.” There are as many ways to be a thou`ght leader as the re are to be a leader in anything else.
Annalisa Parent 42:19
You have to do it in a way that’s authentic to you, then make wise decisions about how you’re going to do it.
Jess Dewell 43:04
Business is messy, and it can be ugly, and it can be beautiful. It is as majestic as mother nature. It comes with the good and it comes with the bad, just like every relationship and every action.
Annalisa Parent 44:17
When you become a thought leader on your one thing, whatever it is, you’re going to spend a long time with this concep. Better love it a whole lot, because it’s going to consume your life. And I think that’s why the authenticity is so important.
Annalisa Parent 46:11
So we have kind of the seasons of fear, and then seasons of positivit. People right now are really looking for positivity in their life.
Annalisa Parent 48:15
People think about the fun part of leadership, which for a lot of people means being visible, and people listening to you, and people saying, “Wow, that’s a great idea.” I think most people would say that they would like to have that in their life. It comes with all of the opposites of that.
Annalisa Parent 48:46
We have all of these cliches and metaphors around taking the first step. We have to take that first step every single day. You have to be bold every da. Regardless of how well it went yesterday. Regardless of the email or the troll or what somebody posted to your Facebook page. You got to keep going, every day, and take that step into boldness every day.
thought leadership, market positioning, simplicity, value, high level thinking, value creation, decision making, communication
Why does being the go-to resource matter to business development?
People come to us for specific information. That knowledge is specifically what people perceive about us … what we can contribute to what will keep us top-of mind-for our area of expertise. Jess Dewell talks about thought leadership and market positioning with Annalisa Parent, CEO and founder at Date with the Muse.
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