Your wisdom differentiates you from peers and competitors. Make sure your thought leadership communicates the wisdom you bring to your clients’ matters.
The most effective and persuasive thought leadership is infused with wisdom. It doesn’t just rely on the author’s knowledge.
The “problem” with knowledge is that anyone can become knowledgeable about a subject by reading about it, by researching it, and memorizing facts.
But wisdom is something different.
Wisdom involves the ability to make sound judgments. You develop wisdom by experiencing real-world situations and learning how to apply your knowledge and previous experiences to those situations.
That’s important because clients don’t want theoretical thinkers. They want people who have been there, done that regarding the same or similar issues they’re facing. This experience gives clients comfort that a particular attorney understands what they’ll need to do to help them secure a good legal result or business result.
When you infuse your thought leadership with wisdom and give more to your audience than basic knowledge that could have just as easily come out of the mouths of other attorneys, you’re going to see a number of benefits.
Thought leadership infused with wisdom is more likely to be consumed
When you infuse thought leadership with wisdom regarding issues current or prospective clients might be facing, they’ll be more likely to consume it because they are getting information that they’re unlikely to get from many other sources. That’s because most thought leadership focuses on knowledge, not wisdom.
Current and prospective clients that consume your wisdom-filled thought leadership aren’t just learning about what the law is or what a recent court decision said. They’re hearing from you wisdom regarding what to do (or not to do) regarding that recent court decision or other legal or business issues.
Thought leadership infused with wisdom is more persuasive
Your thought leadership becomes more persuasive when you infuse it with wisdom because it sends signals to current and prospective clients that you are more likely to be the lawyer for them than anyone else because, through the wisdom you’re displaying, you understand how to approach problems like the ones they’re facing.
You’re not just knowledgeable about those problems. You are someone who can take their relevant experiences dealing with those problems and apply them to a client’s particular situation.
Thought leadership infused with wisdom is comforting to your target audience
When you infuse wisdom into your thought leadership, you also comfort your target audience because you are demonstrating to them that you have experience handling an issue or situation.
What may be uncertain to your target audience or to a prospective or current client is not uncertain to you because, as is clear from the wisdom you’ve infused in your thought leadership, you’ve helped other clients manage similar issues. You’re communicating to your target audiences that they have a guide—you—through what might be a difficult, troublesome, and expensive process for them.
Thought leadership infused with wisdom is uniquely personalized to you
When you infuse your thought leadership with wisdom, your thought leadership becomes personalized to you and your experiences. Chances are good that no one is going to have the same perspective that you have.
This separates you from the pack. Your work experience, the clients you’ve worked with, and your path from law school throughout your career to where you are today have all given you personal and business experiences. These experiences have led to the wisdom you are applying in any given situation and (should be) communicating in your thought leadership.
Infusing wisdom in your thought leadership
In terms of how to actually infuse wisdom, you will want to draw from experience. You will want to share anecdotes about your real world experiences while you’re, of course, being mindful about confidentiality and privilege.
(When you infuse wisdom in your thought leadership, don’t worry about spilling your special sauce. Your special sauce is three things: (i) your knowledge, (ii) your wisdom, and (iii) you applying both to the particular facts and circumstances of a client’s situation. When writing thought leadership, you’re not facing a client’s particular facts and circumstances. Thus, there’s no special sauce to spill.)
Let’s say you’re a securities lawyer. When you inject wisdom in your thought leadership, you wouldn’t be just talking about recent court decisions or what the SEC’s recent rulemaking is covering. Instead, you’d be discussing how to navigate securities litigation when plaintiffs’ firms invoke those recent decisions or integrate them into their litigation strategy, or how your clients may need to tweak their operations to comply with the SEC’s rulemaking based on your experience with clients that have had to do the same after prior rulemaking.
If you’re a deal lawyer, infusing your thought leadership with wisdom doesn’t mean giving an overview of representations and warranties. It means talking about why particular representations and warranties should be included in a particular kind of deal in a particular industry based on your experience.
Finally, if you’re an employment attorney, injecting wisdom into your thought leadership doesn’t mean merely discussing proposed legislation or administrative agencies’ actions. It means explaining how employers’ processes and procedures might need to change, or how longtime best practices will need to evolve, if that proposed legislation becomes law or those agency actions aren’t reversed.
Your thought leadership should be dripping with wisdom
Wisdom is a differentiator. When current and prospective clients are evaluating attorneys to help them navigate new legal or business issues, they want attorneys who aren’t just knowledgeable but wise as well. They want attorneys who know how to help them with those issues because they’ve helped clients before with those same or similar issues.
When you infuse wisdom into your thought leadership, you are demonstrating to your target audiences that you are the right person to help them with their legal or business issues.
You don’t just have knowledge about those issues, which anyone could develop with relatively minimal effort.
Instead, you have experience and judgment, which could be the difference between taking a successful approach to a client’s legal or business issue and taking an unsuccessful approach.
Displaying that experience and judgment through wisdom you convey in your thought leadership can equally be the difference between a reader of your thought leadership retaining you to assist them with a legal or business issue versus them retaining somebody else.
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