Thought Leadership Presentations

Thought Leadership Presentations

By Ian Richardson, Managing Partner, Richardson & Richardson Consulting LLC

Inspired by Thursday Process with guest Scott Wright, Click Armor

Thought Leadership Presentations

The dreaded topic of public speaking – you either love it or hate it, I’ve yet to bump into someone that doesn’t have a relatively developed opinion on the concept. Thought Leadership presentations are a marketing tactic around building an “element of influence” around authority, and if done correctly, social proof. Authority is exactly as it sounds – a belief in the consumer of your content that you have knowledge, experience, and expertise in the topic you are presenting – that you are an “authority” on it. Social proof is testimonials, reviews, and “buzz” around your abilities to impact positive or negative change with regards to a particular topic. If you’ve ever felt a bit lost or overwhelmed with the concept of diving into thought leadership presentations, this article contains some actionable steps to help you get started.

How to get organized

The single most powerful tool I’ve found for organization is the outline. Yes, I’m referring to that research paper writing concept you got introduced to in primary school. Creations of outlines have served me well throughout my career, from engineering and project management, to sales proposals, to thought leadership presentations.

Take the topic or concept and divide it into sections. You’ll need space for introductions at the top of the talk, and questions & answers as well as a closing statement near the bottom. I find that 2-3 minutes on a topic is usually more than adequate to cover it in a live talk, with 5 minutes being reserved for a “meaty” topic that may need extra time.

Take the amount of time you have for the talk – allocate 2 minutes for an introduction, 5 minutes for Q/A and “whoops I talked to long” time. Take the remainder of the talk and divide it by 3 minutes, that’s how many segments you are allowed to use. If a segment seems “meaty” take two of your “blocks of time” for it. Lastly, organize your segments into the logical sequence that you should present them. You’ve now got everything you need to run through a presentation.

A secret tip for your slides

I had spoken with my friend Scott Wright, CEO of Click Armor, around thought leadership on our webinar series, The Thursday Process. Scott shared a awesome concept that I wanted to share with you here. He finds “having a process diagram helps … put a couple of circles or a triangle that gives people a visual concept of what you’re trying to discuss with … a few words to illustrate.” Scott goes on to share that this has two large benefits – if you forget part of your presentation it doesn’t highlight the fact you skipped it, as well as giving you the flexibility to insert a story or additional content without making it look like you’re going way off script.

Final Thoughts

Thought leadership is a powerful strategy – any time you can trigger multiple elements of influence in marketing, you’re winning the game. Getting organized before a presentation and having that presentation “run smooth” helps with creating authority for your audience. That authority can naturally transition into social proof as people talk about your expertise in your field. Authority and social proof can lead to opportunities approaching you for help, which in turn leads to growth.

If you’re struggling with creating thought leadership content, figuring out how to effectively present it, or getting alignment with your team on the need to invest in the effort, Richardson & Richardson can help. Check out our case studies for stories of organizations that we’ve assisted with similar issues and download our white papers for deep dives on tools you can use in your organization. If you’re wondering where to start, book a complimentary session with one of the Richardsons today to come up with a plan on how to move forward.


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