Inspirational Leader or Know-It-All

December 8th, 2010 by | Print


There’s a fine line between being recognized as an industry expert that others want to follow versus a know-it-all that nobody wants to be around.

One of the hot industries that’s experienced a flood of newly self-proclaimed “guru”, “leading authority”, or “expert” over the last few years is internet marketing.

Let’s say that you have a talent for internet marketing and you know that it’s a growing market, so you decide that you want your slice of the action. If the education is equal amongst all the experts, what will set you apart?

Here are 4 key fundamentals to put into action to make sure your market perceives you as an inspiring expert versus an uppity know-it-all:

1. Put your own perspective on issues.
If 100 people are teaching the same thing that you are, and you want to differentiate yourself from the rest of the pack, it isn’t going to come from a fancy title. It’s simply going to come from … you! You aren’t teaching something new, but how many of the other “gurus” have had your experience combined with your knowledge, experience and skills? Share your personal insight to your experience of successes and failures. Otherwise, hand out reference books and let your target market figure it out for themselves.

2. Use your audience’s language and not just the textbook industry jargon.
Catchy phrases and standard industry jargon are acceptable if: a) you give an explanation in common terms as to what the catchy phrases mean, b) if you are speaking to people who are already experienced within the industry, and c) you’ve added your own perspective as mentioned in the previous point. Otherwise, speak in terms that your audience understands. You will be more effective at holding their attention and inspiring them to take action.

3. Ask questions.
People want to know you care about them and understand their problems before they care how much you know. Asking questions is an excellent way to get an understanding of what ills your audience before you prescribe a treatment … and a treatment that actually works. Otherwise, you can spout off everything that you know to show how smart you are, but most people won’t stick around for an encore presentation.

4. Talk about the pain you’ve experienced.
Whom would you rather learn from: a) a person that has a lengthy list of titles earned in a classroom, but no real world experience or b) someone that can show evidence of struggling with problems just like your and have found a way to achieve the success that you want?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking education. I’m a big believer in education … in all of its many forms. However, if you want people to follow you, they will respect you more if they know you’ve been in the same situation that they now find themselves in and can talk about how that felt and what you did to improve your situation. You will create a much stronger emotional bond and trust if you can show them you are the bridge between the gap in where they are and where they want to be.

The bottom line is people do business with people. If you simple rattle technical terms with no real-world experiences, you risk coming off like a know-it-all (or worse, a textbook). Introduce big concepts, but break down the path into practical steps in common terms. If people only hear lofty language and ideas that exist in someone else’s world, they won’t believe that it is possible for them to reach the promise land.

All the Best,

Doug Dolan
The Solopreneur’s Guide


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