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Leveraging Thought Leadership

Aug 19, 2021

Today, we sit down with the incredibly insightful Jon Levy! Jon is a behavioral scientist and social engineer best known for his work on human connection and decision making. Jon is the founder of the Influencers Dinner, a secret dining experience started in New York in 2009. Twelve thought leaders, tastemakers, and influencers from various industries attend, but do not discuss their professional career, or share their last name - in order to guess, at the end of the dinner, what the other attendees do professionally. What started as an experiment has turned into a world class experience that brings guests from a broad spectrum of fields together to share insights, camaraderie, and a great meal. In addition to being a TED speaker, Jon also has a new book: You’re Invited: The Art and Science of Cultivating Influence.


We start today's conversation with a discussion about the way humans, as a whole, possess a desire to experience something different and unique. Jon explains a bit about the SN/VTA part of the brain, which governs reward cognition, associative learning, and positively-valenced emotions. The SN/VTA engages during unusual experiences, and that response can be used to inspire curiosity and get an audience to authentically engage with your ideas. Behavioral science for the win!


The traditional methods for networking have become stagnant and overblown. People "turn off" when they're bored, so how can we create a stronger connection? Jon shares tips about bringing people together for a mutual, unique experience, and how that can create relationships that are stronger than plain ol' humdrum networking.


John talks about the enigmas of connection, and helps thought leaders understand why people do the things we do. This is a great lesson on how to tap into those responses by using a little bit of social engineering! Don't miss it!



Three Key Takeaways:

  • Thought Leaders can create more interest in their products and ideas by adding a little uniqueness and novelty; raising people’s curiosity makes them engage more fully.
  • When designing Thought Leadership courses, think about the frequency of communication, not just the depth of ideas.
  • Trust is a must-have in Thought Leadership, but to gain trust you must be willing to show a level of vulnerability.