Want to be a Meeting Industry Thought Leader? 2 Surefire Ways to Make it Happen
Oct 03, 2012 by DeDe Mulligan

thought leader

The buzz question in every industry circle is: Who are your thought leaders?

But most people want to know: What exactly is a thought leader and how can I position myself to become one? 

According to Webster's Dictionary, a thought leader is one whose views on a subject are taken to be authoritative and influential. 

The reason most of us in the meeting industry want to be considered "authoritative and influential" is because it sets us apart from everyone else. How many event audio visual rental organizations are there in California? Lots. But how many of them consistently write topical blog posts? Not too many. This is one way AV Event Solutions tries to set themselves apart from its competitors. 

However, becoming a thought leader does take time and persistence. In order to be a go-to voice in the meeting industry, here two surefire ways that can help you get there:

WRITING

Sharing best practices, tips and techniques, and currating valuable information is of keen interest to most meeting planners and suppliers. This can be accomplished in the following ways: 

  • Writing a blog post for your organization and make sure it is optimized for SEO
  • Becoming a guest blogger for other associations and companies
  • Writing articles for industry publications
  • Producing an e-newsletter and having several persons within your organization participate in it
  • Writing ebooks
  • Publishing white papers
  • Promoting all of the above through social channels

While you don't have to do all of the items above, having a yearly content calendar focused on what your organization is going to write will help bring "top of mind" attention to your company. 

SPEAKING

This can be a little tricker for 2 reasons: 1) most people are afraid of public speaking or aren't very good at it and 2) associations and companies are concerned that you will shamelessly promote yourself, your company, and/or your products. 

Start small and build up your speaking reputation. If you start with 10 people in the audience and speak on a regular basis, pretty soon speaking before 100 or 1,000 people will be a "piece of cake". Here are other tips to keep your speaking calendar as full as you want it to be: 

  • Start small. Contact your local Chamber of Commerce, CVB, PCMA, MPI, and ISES chapters. See if they are looking for speakers and in what topic areas. 
  • Only talk about something you are a subject-matter expert on and prepare your own slides. Offering to speak about social media best practices when you are not a regular user of it will end your speaking career. Audience members are very savvy and they will see through your speech. Your body language will give you away. 
  • Never promote yourself. Yes, you can give out business cards and put your contact information at the end of the slide, but you are there to raise awareness about who you are because of what you know. Attendees will remember that. 
  • Have someone videotape your talk and watch it so you can learn from your mistakes. 
  • Come early and stay late in order to maximize your time with attendees. 

The market may seem flooded with event meeting service companies, but by consistently doing the steps listed above, you and your organization can drive relevant conversations, showcase your expertise and standout from the crowd. 

If you are event planning in California, contact AV Event Solutions for all your interactive technology tool rental needs! 

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