Top Characteristics Of A Thought Leader

To lead an audience, you need to own a number of small acts that touch your audience, or one major act that moves your audience to respond.

Some skills and characteristics are a must. You cannot escape learning and acquiring them. The lists of Thought Leaders showcase how each Thought Leader has a different degree of expertise in one of the skills mentioned below. These skills should emerge as your second nature, mostly that define to be components of your character.

The characteristics can be encapsulated into three scenarios — when you are placed in a one-to-many, one-to-one, or many-to-one engagement with your ecosystem and audience.

If you are not the reading type, there is an infographic at the end of the article that summarizes this article with a checklist.


Proactive Outreach

Stay in touch with media. It includes everything from monitoring news coming from your industry, scanning the environment for key events and trends, and staying in touch with journalists, PR agencies, and media traders.

Local Involvement

Find groups, communities, and events that are hosted for your audience, and to help your industry. Participate in these events to network, speak, learn, interact with your audience.

Speaking Engagements

Right from local to national events, you get to find many opportunities to speak before people. But, first dig into your immediate network to be able to capitalize on the closest speaking engagements. As a part of the Thought Leadership course, you will be also be introduced to how to find speaking engagements.

Content Creation

Take a look at the Thought Leadership lists. You will notice that thought leaders are often involved in some or the other type of content creation activities. Writing a book, a newspaper column, e-books, or blogging, illustrating, or video making. They choose one type of content and start developing on them over a long duration.

Social Media

Engaging with your audience, personally is a luxury. Social Media enables this. Start conversing with people on any one social media channel to begin. If you like something, don’t be lazy to just like it and leave. Share your opinion, comments, and feedback. Except for a handful, many people appreciated when I did this. They love it.



You always have a chance to mentor other colleagues in your organization. Some customers, audience from speaker sessions and so on seek advice and direction all the time. When someone approaches you, you stand a chance to become a mentor and carve your niche of thought leadership.

Seek Inspiration

There is no dearth for the need of inspiration.  Knowing other Thought Leaders would always help. Knowing them in person is even better. I have my list of thought leaders who I would love to know about and stay in touch with. Create your list of thought leaders and keep them ready.

The free course on Thought Leadership would soon deal with it too.


The reference to ‘One’ is YOU. Everything here gets directed back to you.

Social Listening

If you are a marketer, the term social listening is a quick connect. But, if you are not, here is an introduction to social listening. The concept of social listening got institutionalized after the emergence of social media platforms and digital communities. It is a process of listening to what your audience are talking about you and your associate brands or topics of interest. This helps in gauging the sentiment across digital audience and manage your reputation.

Empathetic View

Listen to experiences of the other person, rather than assuming that you have more to speak about. This helps in developing an empathetic view towards different problems in your niche. The more the better. However, some of these experiences may be extremist views and highly opinionated. Sieve off the skewed variants from the generalistic ones.


Step out of the Ptolemic view that “the universe revolves around me.” This is where humility begins. You could be capable of many aspects but it cannot gain recognition in the absence of an audience.


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