March 24, 2020
Executive Voice: Is Now the Right Time to Build a Thought Leadership Platform?
Leaders come alive in moments of tension.
Those who emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic with a stronger voice and bolstered credibility will have done so through effective thought leadership. That is, by effectively communicating their point of view to both internal and external audiences.
Earlier we provided insights into communicating with employees and shared guidance for COVID-19 communications. Today let’s consider recommendations for your executive thought leadership, starting with the question,
“Is now the right time to begin – or continue – a thought leadership platform?”
Yes. The media is in dire need of credible experts willing to speak to today’s challenges and provide clear, direct answers to the public’s questions. We are faced with an unprecedented opportunity to communicate strong ideas that effectively rally hearts and minds for the greater good. Fair warning: Any great opportunity comes with some risk, so consider:
- Tone: Be helpful, authoritative and calming – not boastful or opportunistic. The right tone impacts how your message resonates.
- Message: Consider the topic’s relevance to today’s unique challenges and your credibility to deliver that message. Before moving forward, ask yourself, “What makes my voice a valid one on the topic?” If it isn’t, think about who you can partner with to bolster your authority. Or simply drop it.
- Channel: Act quickly. Owned and shared channels, like your organization’s blog or Twitter, allow you to react to the changing climate in a moment’s notice. Now is the time to build relationships with earned media channels, specifically online and broadcast channels trying to keep up with a 24/7 news cycle and in need of sources for new content.
- Brevity: Information overload is real. Be brief. In crisis, no one has the time or energy to read a monologue. Get to the point and back it up with facts, examples and stories. Offer a call to action. Then move on.
- Feedback: Listening is critical. Was your message helpful? Did your audience act? With the climate changing so quickly, evaluate resonance in real-time.
Leadership requires speaking a kind truth through a lens of heightened social intelligence – transparency, compassion, decisiveness and humility. Now is the time to be a reliable and trusted source during our nation’s time of need.