Category Archives: Thought leadership

12 of my quirky and efficient writing tips

I have a goal to write almost every day, and I want to share thoughts, ideas, tips, and other things that people can reflect on.

When I write, I have some rules, and here are some of them:

  1. It works to write anywhere. Use Notes on your mobile phone or jot down your thoughts in your notebook.
  2. To avoid getting stiff, I’m mindful in what way I sit when I write. If you sit like couch potatoes, you can get all kind of issues. Your head weighs five kilos, and if that is in the work position you are asking for problems in the future. If you need any help how to sit, contact a physiotherapist or an Alexander Technique teacher.
  3. Nine days out of ten when I write I will follow a strict morning routine. I get up, have healthy breakfast, and then I get ready. Lazy pyjamas style is not for me; I need to honour my words and sentences by wearing either my typical clothes or my gym gear if I’m going to the gym later.
  4. If my body feels tired, I dry brush myself. Your skin is the biggest organ and it’s full of sensors in the skin. When I dry brush it feels like I wake up myself to be more alert and know more what’s going on in the world.
  5. I practice self-compassion when I write. If I’m not feeling great I give myself some time to warm up and might just write a down some random ideas before I start.
  6. I’m not spending hours watching TV, Netflix or YouTube the days when I am planning to write. I just don’t.
  7. I write better if I exercise often. I often go to the gym and give my arms, shoulders, back and tummy a good round. I don’t have a great posture, and to prevent it from getting worse I must exercise. If I get a sore neck or sore back the best cure is to go for a quick run, then you are massaging all muscles from the inside out. I often get a sore neck, and it seems to heal quicker if I get the muscles connecting to the neck to work harder when running.
  8. If I’ve written something I let the piece rest over night and then I edit. All words must earn their space. If I can’t wait til the next day I will go out for a walk or run and make sure I feel comfortable with what I’ve written.
  9. Time management is key! You must decide what you would like to do with your time. If you are planning to write, eat food that is easy to prepare, if you take a long break in your writing you lose valuable time. To get ready it can help to clean your desk where you plan to write, but don’t start a big tidy-up-project that will take forever to finish.
  10. I sometimes suffer from brewcastination. It means that I need a hot drink before I start writing. I hate when something else decide what I shall do, and it helps to stop drinking caffeinated drinks now and then.
  11. When I write I don’t want anyone to call me, my mobile is put on silence and a few meters away from me. I close down all my social media accounts on my computer when I write and try to stay away for it for at least a few hours.
  12. I’ve been to some creative writing courses, and it’s been amazing. If you would like to get to know more techniques to improve your writing, you should check them out on Google. I’ve been to some short courses in London and a two weeks long course at Skyros in Greece.

Good luck!

Writing

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Is it thought leadership if someone else has written your blog post?

In an advanced social media course I was teaching, we were debating whether it’s important for people working in an organisation to have a decent social media presence or not.

We were talking about branding and different leadership styles and in what ways the people working in an organisation are representatives of the brand 24/7.

One person said: ‘I’m happy that none of the fools in my organisation have an online presence.’ Everyone laughed.

Another delegate said: ‘Our marketing team writes all the blog posts and then some people in the management team pretend they wrote it.’

‘What?’ I said. ‘Do they outsource their voice?’

It turned out that many people in the room had had the same experience. They knew few people in a leadership position who wrote their blog posts themselves. Instead, they are conveniently outsourcing their thoughts and voice to a ghost writer.

I may be naive, but how can anyone let someone else ‘be their voice’?

In that case, what’s written and shared just adds to the junk online. If you want to stand out you need to use your own voice and your own, personal anecdotes.

In the ‘social media era’ people who use social media well stand out. That’s how it is. Blogging or sharing on social media can be a great tool to let people know a bit more about what’s going on behind the scenes. People are notoriously curious and want to know what’s going on.

To be seen as a thought leader today you need to develop your thinking skills. I know I am asking for a lot here and it takes time, to do this, but without fully thinking your thoughts through you are only going to be a copycat, and that’s not a good start when you’re developing your personal brand.

The world doesn’t need more leaders who put together fake thought leadership content with the help of an assistant. If this is your current strategy please stop now and learn more about the craft of writing and expressing an idea.

You need to be strategic with your writing. There are devices such as smartphones and tablets that you can use to jot down notes and then you can structure your notes in a Word document later. You can collect potential topics in a spreadsheet. You can get help from a proofreader if you are not sure you are getting the grammar right. But please, share your stories and expertise; never outsource your voice.

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In the near future I will be running some workshops in London where we will explore how to use your voice in your writing. Please sign up to my newsletter so you get the announcement when we know the exact workshop dates.

Sofie Sandell

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Thought Leadership And Sharing Your Ideas on Social Media

Last week I facilitated a workshop on thought leadership, social media and sharing your ideas on a wider scale. The questions we discussed were both complex and deep.

Knowledge, insight and wisdom are all valuable capital in the world today. Organisations that know how to develop thought leaders and thought leadership content have a huge advantage. Thought leadership matters for marketing and credibility and it shows that you have smart people who care working in your organisation.

One of the questions we tried to tackle was: How can you as a human being leave something behind that matters to other people?

Leaving behind thoughts and ideas that matter to others is part of being a thought leader. These days the web and social media connect people and ideas on a larger scale. This makes sharing our thoughts even more interesting and means we are constantly influenced by other people’s ideas. If you would like to share your ideas and thoughts you need to find a way to do it, and many of us have a limited amount of time to spend on writing and preparing articles. How can you share your ideas effectively so the end result is worth reading?

Another question was: What defines a thought leader? I have a few suggestions for the definition of thought leader: being credible and an expert in a particular area. A thought leader is also someone who helps us to consider a topic on a deeper level, and he or she shares their knowledge freely and widely. Most importantly, thought leadership is something I can identify when I see it.

This autumn, my favourite TV series has been The Bridge, a Swedish/Danish crime drama. In the ninth episode a new investigator says to his senior colleague: ‘I’m not sure what Saga has told you about me, but I’m a great police officer.’ The reply he got was: ‘A great police officer doesn’t have to say that they are great.’ It’s the same with thought leaders, if you are one you don’t need to say it, others will pick up on your talents and endorse you.

One more thing we discussed was: What’s the difference between too much and too little self-promotion? If you want people to know about what you do you need to share your message in different ways. How can you do this without being seen as a bragger? It’s a complex question, but you need to build up credibility and you do that by being part of a discussion and sharing your knowledge. To not do any self-promotion when you have a lot of knowledge is almost a crime.

We all have different talents. Some people are good at running, others at cooking and some have the talent of sharing their knowledge and experiences. We are all different. One participant in the workshop said: ‘But being good at running and cooking are not as crucial for your career as being good at sharing your knowledge.’ This is true, and not everyone begins from the same starting point, and life is not always fair. Luckily we can all gain new skills and learn new things throughout our life. You can train yourself to become better at sharing your knowledge and talk about your experiences, even if you feel resistance to start with.

Leaders and great thinkers are not born, they are made – and they put in a lot of time in developing themselves.

Thought leadership and Business Advantage Concept

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Are you a thoughtleader?

Thoughtleaders is one of these words that we love to say it but we use it in a sloppy way and don’t say what we mean with it. It’s a buzzword and I recently read in the Harvard Business Review that it’s one of those words that have been gaining enormous popularity over the last few decades. I thought I should bring a bit of clarity and share what I mean with thoughtleadership and thoughtleaders.

Mindy Gibbins-Klein, who is a thought leadership strategist and runs a publishing company says: ‘You can’t claim yourself that you are a thoughtleader.’ I agree with her. To be recognised as a thoughtleader others around you must see that you have the desire to be one and will to work hard to stay where you are. Being a thoughtleader means that you exercise your mind, thoughts and ideas all the time and know what’s going on in your area of expertise.

Here are some thoughts on what a thoughtleader is that can be used as a guide:

  • Thoughtleaders are experts in their subject area and other experts go to them for inspiration and to expand their knowledge and awareness.
  • Thoughtleaders take time to develop new thoughts and ideas every day. They try out their new ideas on people they know and often discuss old topics in a new context.
  • Thoughtleaders are creative about the problems they meet in life. They don’t believe in “old truths” such as “we’ve tried that before and it didn’t work so we won’t try it again”.
  • Creativity is a gift and, on a deep, personal level, people who are thoughtleaders nurture their creativity in ways that are good for their mind, heart and soul.
  • Thoughtleaders ignite their ideas by imagining the future and research. They may do this research themselves or it may be other people’s research, but they explain it well to the world.
  • Sharing is caring and thoughtleaders show the world that they care by publishing and sharing their ideas widely. You can share your ideas through articles, blogs, regular newsletters, books, webinars, videos, talks and workshops. There are plenty of ways to share your ideas; I have only named a few here. The Web is a gift and there are thousands of ways to use it to share your ideas.
  • For me a thoughtleader shares their knowledge without making it into a long sales pitch. I see many speakers at events who just try to convince the audience to purchase their products. This is tiring and not thoughtleadership.
  • Passion can often be equal to life-energy, the thing that makes you work extra hard. A thoughtleader is often driven by his or her passion about a topic and thrives on sharing this passion with others. Passion is contagious and people who meet a passionate thoughtleader will want to learn more after reading about or hearing their ideas.
  • The ethics of thoughtleadership is an area that you have to take personal responsibility for. You need to test the field and engage in conversations with fellow experts. This is why networking and connections are vital.
  • Thoughtleaders are having imaginative ideas what the future might look like. I once went to a panel discussion and there were four men who were “social media experts” and none of them dared to say what they thought the future of social media would look like, they were very blend. This is not thoughtleadership either. You take a risk my guessing what the future will look like and you are brave enough to take that risk and share your thoughts if you are a thoughtleader.
  • As with leaders, thoughtleaders are not born, they are made.

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Sofie Sandell portrait

Photographer Sandra Donskyte

 

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Social Media Q&A

Do you have any questions about life in relation to social media?

Send an email with your question to Sofie Sandell for a chance to get it published here.
Email: sofie@sofiesandell.com

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