Let’s face it. At the end of the day (love that phrase by the way), education company leaders, brand ambassadors, teacher leaders etc. hope that the message they are communicating hits the mark with each audience they are reaching out to. The harsh reality is that without proper strategy and planning our public words of wisdom often come across as an outdated infomercial.
What praytell do I mean? If I asked you to sit down and compose a keynote presentation how many of you would start to write about your company? It’s ok to admit it unless your reading this entry with 500 of your closest friends and colleagues at a national education conference. My money says you are sitting in your office before your employees trickle in from the elevator lobby and you are contemplating what your public insights might be.
The first step to finding out what an audience might be interested in is looking inward. The best pontificators are those who understand the human condition, can speak to it through the lens of their personal journey and apply it [human condition] to your industry. You might well have the most incredible, earth shattering, education product or solution that you fully believe will sell based solely on its’ technical merit and perceived market need.
I wish I could say that selling in education was this easy.
The truth is that your experiences can be carefully crafted into desired insights if you remember to sell YOU and not your product. You are what someone will engage with and it will be your product or solution that will tag along.
The audience has to care about you to care about what you are selling. By default, if delivered thoughtfully, the audience will want to know about your company and your abilities because you have effectively communicated insights built from the person that parks his or her car in a dark garage at night after a very long day of trying to push their company up a very steep and expensive mountain.
Let’s take a look at an education thought leader who has climbed the ranks of the industry by being himself. That approach and understanding have landed him in Washington, D.C. as a Presidential Innovation Fellow. Watch the interview above and then meet me further down the page!
Adam Bellow shared a behind-the-scenes look at his career path and how he became one of the most desired thought leaders in education and educational technology. Bellow, now a Presidential Innovation Fellow, discusses where we are as an industry and how our perceptions have changed, over time, in education.
Bellow began his career in the classroom as a High School English teacher. He has worked as a technology training specialist, Director of Educational Technology, and is now considered one of today’s leading speakers on educational technology and infusing technology to aid school reformation.
Bellow is the founder of the websites eduTecher, eduClipper, WeLearnedIt, and eduGames. In addition to these free resources, he launched the popular charity “Change the World” student-focused charity campaigns.
Bellow was honored by ISTE in 2010 as an emerging leader and then again in 2011 when he was named Outstanding Young Educator of the year. In 2014 he received the Making IT Happen Award from ISTE as well as Innovator of the Year from the Academy of Education Arts and Sciences.
Bellow is currently serving as CEO of eduClipper, the edtech startup that he founded in 2012. eduClipper is a free web tool focused on helping students and teachers find, share, and build valid learning experiences in a K-12 safe educational social platform.
(Interview courtesy of our Thought Leadership publication edCircuit. If you would like to be profiled on edCircuit fill out the form to the right!)
My hope is that after watching Adam you walk away thinking about the transparency he displayed about his experiences in education. You may think, some day, that you want a brand ambassador or external strategic partner like Adam.
It will not be because he talked up his resume (substitute product/solution for resume in your case). You will engage a thought leader like Adam Bellow because his subtle confidence is in himself not in the benefits he spews to an audience.
If you want to build your own orbit that others want to gravitate to check out these Launch Codes!
Grab a pen and paper…here we go!
- Write down the 5 value propositions your company brings to the market
- Write down the national storylines that could be attributed to each value proposition
- Write down your personal story and approach of how YOU developed the 5 value propositions in 3 paragraphs
Read number 3, above, over and over!
The thoughts that lead you to your 5 value propositions, in the context of leading storylines in education, unveils the specific value you bring as a thought leader. You probably take for granted this thought process and yet you depend on it to drive your decisions as the leader of your company every day. You need to connect the dots for your audience. Tether to the storylines that demonstrate need in the market and tell that story – as a human being – not a CEO.
Check out edCircuit for more thought leadership profiles.
If you would like to learn more about how you can release insights that matter fill out the form, to the right, so we can talk!