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Nine Great Ways to Avoid Being a Thought Leader [Slide Show]

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120104-1 Intro
Do the words "thought leader" give you cold chills? If you don't want the limelight, if you don't want anyone to know about your expertise, and if you are dead set on hiding your light under a bushel, here are nine steps that'll help you fade into obscurity.
120104-2. 1. Don't say anything new

1. Don't say anything new

If you have new thoughts about your business sector or your niche area of expertise, please do everyone (and yourself) a favor: keep those thoughts to yourself.

120104-3. 2. Immediately cull any inquisitiveness

2. Immediately cull any inquisitiveness

Immediately cull any inquisitiveness you have about your clients' or customers' issues and challenges. If you find out anything valuable, keep it to yourself, and don't do anything about it.

120104-4. 3. Don't share intellectual property

3. Don't share intellectual property

Don't share any of that latent intellectual property. You cannot afford to have anyone know that you have unique insights to share.

120104-5. 4. Put away any thoughts of research

4. Put away any thoughts of research

Put away any thoughts of research that could shed light on topics that interest your client. You may stumble across something that vaguely positions you as someone with insight, and you can't afford for that to happen.

120104-6. 5. Don't ever scan your competitors

5. Don't ever scan your competitors

Don't ever scan your competitors to ascertain where the gaps are that you could fill with your expertise and insights. That is a long, slippery slope that'll lead to your being recognized as someone in a thought leadership position.

120104-7. 6. Never deep dive on a topic of interest

6. Never deep dive on a topic of interest

Never deep dive on an issue or topic of concern to your clients. If you do, make sure no one knows. Be extra careful, for once you're labeled a thought leader, it's very difficult to shake that perception.

120104-8. 7. Package Your Content Carefully

7. Package Your Content Carefully

Steer clear of packaging your content in any way that vaguely says to the market that you have something new or insightful to share. Heck, people may turn to you for advice, and then what will you do?

120104-9. 8. Keep a very low social media profile

8. Keep a very low social media profile

Keep a very low social media profile. If you do have accounts on social networks, keep them personal, and don't let on that you're an expert in anything. Remember, digital erasers do not exist, and you don't want rumors spreading online that you could have insights to share.

120104-10. 9. Use your 15 minutes wisely

9. Use your 15 minutes wisely

You will face a conundrum: Andy Warhol once said that we will all have our 15 minutes of fame. Make sure your 15 minutes aren't about your expertise at work; you may need to seek your 15 minutes elsewhere. It may be that you are the world's best mom or dad, but even then, be cautioned you can't write or speak about it. After all, you may find yourself on the speaking circuit or being interviewed on TV as the modern day guru on parenting. And we can't have that now, can we?

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Craig Badings is author of Brand Stand: Seven Steps to Thought Leadership. Reach Craig via his blog or via Twitter.

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