As a thought leader, you may be great at telling stories through a presentation deck,…
I’m often confused when talking to authors and thought leaders when I ask them to tell me how their work impacts the lives and businesses of their clients. Many times they’ll immediately dive into a thorough explanation of models, processes and the latest iteration of the work they do. Other times I’ll get an update on research they’ve done that further validates a theory they’ve had or a new theory that they are focusing on. These are all good things, but there’s a big difference between creating something powerful and being able to clearly and concisely communicate the impact of your work to clients and prospects.
There’s often a gap between what is of interest to the thought leader and the needs of a client or prospect. Clients are concerned about the struggles and business issues at hand and they express an interest in your work (for the most part) not out of intellectual curiosity but out of a need to determine if your work can help them resolve those struggles and issues. Organizations pay for training and learning solutions not so that they can make their employees smarter for the sake of being smarter, but so that employees can use that knowledge in a way that has a measurable impact on the business. If you’re not sure about the impact your work has I’d suggest that you take the time you need to be able to articulate the impact effectively.
One of the easiest ways I’ve found to do that is to ask what is it that you hope people will be able to do, think, act, behave or believe differently as a result of consuming your content? There is usually more than one answer to this question. Once you’ve answered that question the next question is: Given that my client will be able to do X differently, what impact does that have on them as an individual? As a team? As an organization? This may seem a bit overly simplistic but the reality is it’s better to start by being able to simply and clearly state the impact that your work can and does have on your clients as opposed to diving in deeply into the “how” of your work.
Regardless of how novel, interesting, innovative or fascinating your work is, if it can’t be bridged to a measurable, sustainable behavior change that drives a business result, it will remain a “nice to have” versus a “must have” in the eyes of your clients.