I recently wrote a series of articles for prominent newspapers around the country on why we should carefully watch the ongoing anti-fossil fuel negotiations in Paris. The summary:
“The heads of 190 countries, including President Obama, are meeting for the United Nations Conference on Climate Change.Their goal is to reach an international agreement that will stall – or even reverse – human progress.”
The article has been picked up by 22 newspapers in more than a dozen states and still counting…
The Montgomery Advertiser (AL)
The Waco Tribune (TX)
The Santa Fe New Mexican (NM)
The Alaska Dispatch News (AK)
The Delaware News Journal (DE)
The Detroit News (MI)
Tulsa World (OK)
The Ft. Myers News Press (FL)
The Knoxville News Sentinel (TN)
The Charleston Daily Mail (WV)
The Orange County Register (CA)
The New London Day (CT)
The Nashua Telegraph (NH)
The Richmond Times Dispatch [VA]
The Buffalo News (NY)
The Las Vegas Review Journal (NV)
The Colorado Springs Gazette [CO]
The Sun Sentinel (South FL)
The Tampa Tribune (FL)
The Reno Gazette Journal (NV)
The Northwest Indiana Times (IN)
The Lansing State Journal (MI)
How to Win Hearts and Minds on Energy, Part 3: From Champion to Thought-Leader
In part two of this series, I discussed how an energy advocate can become an energy champion. An energy champion is “An individual with a high level of clarity, confidence, and motivation who reaches dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of others.”
If you have a “regular job” as against being a full-time writer/speaker/advocate/
If you want to go a level beyond that, though, it’s important to know that such a level exists–the thought-leader.
Energy thought-leader: An individual whom one of more significant audiences regard as a go-to thinker on energy issues.
Many different organizations and groups are actively interested in energy issues. To take just a handful: university professors, high school students, the Silicon Valley tech community, coal industry employees, energy-related think-tanks, churches, college students, Hollywood, chambers of commerce, political parties.
Ask yourself: what groups am I most interested in or connected to? And could I possibly be a thought-leader in those groups? Or–could I influence a thought-leader in those groups?
The second is usually much, much easier than the first. In the last installment I gave the example of my friend Chad Morris recommending The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels to business thought-leader Dan Sullivan; Sullivan loved the book and his thought-leadership exposed it to thousands of high-level entrepreneurs. Do you know of any thought-leaders you might be able to influence? If you do and want books or materials to send to them, just let me know.
But maybe you want to become a thought-leader yourself. I certainly did. And I think that full-time energy writers, thinkers, and advocates should at least aspire to this. So how is it done?
I don’t know of an exact formula, but here are some things that have helped me.
- Get clear on your target audience or target audiences–and recognize that they are very, very different. For example, my first target audience for my energy ideas was college students. There are many distinctive features of college students: they tend to be more idealistic than average, they tend to be more inculcated in ideas opposite to mine, they tend to be “taught” a lot of things that are never explained very clearly, they tend to be receiving a lot of political propaganda, they tend to know nothing about energy or its value.
- Once you are clear on your target audience, think about what unique value you can offer to be positioned as the go-to person. In my case, I was aware that I could provide unique value by doing several things no one else was doing, such as: explaining how energy worked very, very clearly; having a positive, infectiously enthusiastic approach to oil and other forms of energy; being idealistic myself; focusing on human progress as my goal, not being partisan politically or in favor of one particular form of energy.
This only scratches the surface of what it takes to become a thought-leader, but I think it’s a helpful lead. The concept of positioning is crucial. As yourself: am I positioned in the audience’s mind in such a way that they want to hear what I have to say vs. what others have to say? The worst form of positioning is to be a commodity: to be seen as interchangeable with everything else.
Good news: because the moral case for energy abundance is both new and clarifying, learning and promoting that view will greatly improve your positioning in people’s minds–and therefore your influence.
I’m interested in your thoughts on this issue, so I hope you write and let me know if this helps.