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  • Tori Hollingworth

Think and Present like a Thought Leader… and Your Listeners Will Follow

Thought leaders are powerful. They innovate, drive discussion, motivate their listeners and solidify their reputation as a trusted advisor within their professional sphere.

However the term “thought leader” has recently been overused and, quite frankly, misunderstood. The concept is often confused with being a Subject Matter Expert. But there is a defining difference between the two titles. A SME possesses extensive knowledge within his/her industry and is known for their deep and broad expertise. They provide great value and are strong assets to their team. Interestingly, the term Subject Matter Expert doesn’t include the word leader. And here is where the difference lies between the two terms.

A thought leader may indeed be an SME, but these individuals take it to the next level by exhibiting “out of the box” thinking and expressing clearly articulated predictive ideas by turning their knowledge into informed opinions and suggestions that motivate others to action. The motivation piece is critical to success as a thought leader because it is at the core of what defines strong leadership.

How does one begin to develop, define and project themselves as a thought leader within industry? There are three starting points:

  1. Mindset: A thought leader mindset is one of confidence, passion and proactive thinking. IF you don’t see yourself as a thought leader, then how will your listeners?

  2. Messaging: A thought leader’s message is often proactive as well as aligned with the goals of their company, their team and the industry at large. They have a perspective that is thought provoking yet logical.

  3. Presentation: Thought leaders are articulate, poised and organized in their delivery so that their listeners intellectually follow their ideas and also feel inspired by their messages.

The Communicate with Impact Thought Leadership workshops are a full-day experiences that walk participants through the journey of mindset development, identifying the hallmarks of thought leadership, sharpening and organizing their individual messaging, aligning their stories with the company values and presentation practice so that each participant feels confident articulating thought leadership in their own confident style. For more information on Thought Leadership group training or individual coaching options, please contact

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