Posted by: sdiaz05 | October 17, 2011

Are you an ‘Opinion Leader’?

This week’s reading challenged me a little more than previous weeks.  I found that the Two-Step flow really connected with me well.  In particularly where Katz says that “people were still most successfully persuaded by give-and-take with other people” (p.61).

Think about it.  If you haven’t taken the time to read up on or look into an issue that is of interest to you, what do you do?  Typically you would talk about it with friends, family and coworkers.  Unfortunately too many people form their opinions based on what they hear on the evening news or 30 second commercial ads and assume that what they saw or heard on TV is correct.  Diligent strategic communicators on the other hand know that even if what you saw or heard on TV is in line with what you want to believe, you still owe it to yourself to investigate further. 

Looking into, questioning and discussing will make you more persuasive and that is what Katz says makes one an ‘opinion leader.’  You now can articulate more than one perspective to an issue and concretely state your view and why.

In sales one key element to becoming great is becoming a subject matter expert.  Know your product(s) inside and out as well as knowing the competition.  Find out what they think makes theirs better than yours.  When you confront a customer they will be convinced that you are an expert if you know both the good the bad and the ugly on your product as well as the competitors.  If you educate your customers, you make them opinion leaders; they will sell you and your product for you.  People that look up to them will believe what they say more so than what you have to say even if your information is better.  Think about the ‘drug study’ (p.68-70).

I was left asking myself “do I strive to be an opinion leader?”  Do I take the time to educate myself and take an honest look at the various perspectives even they are counter to what I want to believe?  It’s tough to do because I believe that our natural tendency is to only look into things that coincide with our beliefs.

My question is the same to the class:

Do you take the time to educate yourself and take an honest look or lend an honest ear to the various perspectives even if they are counter to what you want to believe?

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