My wonderful friend Dorie Clark is a professor at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and the author of Entrepreneurial You, Reinventing You and Stand Out, which was named the #1 Leadership Book of 2015 by Inc. magazine. A member of our 100 Coaches organization, Dorie is a former presidential campaign spokeswoman and the New York Times described her as an “expert at self-reinvention and helping others make changes in their lives.”
In this week’s interview, Dorie, an expert at helping people get their message across in a very crowded marketplace, gives us her thoughts on how to get our ideas to spread. Below is an excerpt of our interview.
Marshall: I’m here with my wonderful friend and great thinker Dorie Clark. Dorie, is a world authority at helping people get their message across in a very crowded, tough marketplace. Dorie, I have a question: once you have developed your great idea, how do you get it to spread? There’s no use having a great idea if you’re not able to communicate it!
Dorie: That’s a great question Marshall and it’s something that I wrote about in my book, Stand Out. For the book, I interviewed dozens and dozens of thought leaders to break down and understand how they got their ideas out into the marketplace. I realized that there are three distinct steps to spreading your idea.
- Step one is a more internal process. It’s what I call building your network, because no one, despite the cultural myth, creates an idea on their own. Having a small group of trusted people who can help you sharpen your thinking, who can tell you which of your ideas are “good” and which are bad or need work, is critical. These people can also help you spread your ideas early on.
- Step two is what I call Building an Audience and that’s where you start sharing your idea publicly to get it out there. This is for people you don’t already know and could involve writing or speaking. It’s at this stage where you make sure new people hear the idea and you get feedback about the idea.
- The final stage is where things can really take off, because if you’re spreading your idea on your own, it can only go so far. In the final stage, you have your great idea, you have built your community, and that’s when other people start to take on the idea and say, “I’m really interested in this. I believe in this. I’m going to help spread it too.” You’ve begun to create that community by, for instance, having an online community, or doing meet up groups, like Sheryl Sandberg created Lean In groups that people could be part of and they became ambassadors for the idea. That’s how you create a movement.
Marshall: I love this! And just from a social media perspective, what you create is interaction. So what happens is, I respond to your idea, you respond to my response, social media. This creates interaction and the more interaction you create, the more people are exposed to your idea, the more people hear it, and the more likely it is to make a difference. So, I love your ideas. Thank you!