Thought leadership is about leading people to new thoughts and new ways of doing things. It means taking a position and building relationships of trust. It’s also about sharing knowledge generously.
Communication is often thought of as simply packaging up information in a nice, digestible form. It is much more powerful than that, shaping what we think and do, sometimes in subtle ways, and sometimes like the proverbial sledge hammer. Words, concepts and logical form, metaphors, the rhythm and cadence all work together to share meaning and inform.
But it’s not only about transferring meanings and information from one mind to another. Communication is between people and what matters is not just what you say, but how you say it. Instead of distributing communications, we need to communicate which means participating in an equal, two-way engagement with real people.
Most of my work is with experts working in science, tech and public policy. Their knowledge needs to be out there, shared. But we need to do more than share that knowledge, we need to engage with people to work out how we want things to be. Now more than ever.
Over the coming months I hope that we can find the time to think about how we can restore trust where it has been lost, reduce inequality and live sustainably. It is a rare opportunity.