To Be Or Not To Be a Contrarian – 5 Things to Consider

Experts on just about every topic are a dime a dozen. If you want to be the guru in your field, sought after by journalists for quotes and known for instigating responses, then you need to take a contrarian position. It takes guts and confidence to rise above the noise of the crowd, but the result will help you stand out. Why? Because following the crowd doesn’t get you noticed or quoted very often by a journalist. Think of it this way: does a client hire you because you offer the same advice/solution as every other firm out there? Then why would you want to give the same “acceptable” and possibly bland response as everyone else?

Here are 5 things to keep in mind:

  1. Be an Independent thinker — Have the courage to trust your gut even if it doesn’t fit the prevailing view.
  2. Have Something to Say – If you get an opportunity to be interviewed for a story, be ready with something different to say than all your competitors. Otherwise, don’t be surprised if your words of wisdom fall flat and never get included in the story.
  3. Be Memorable – It’s like showing up to a black tie dinner in a Hawaiian shirt and cargo shorts. You don’t want to be thought of as the same as the next expert. That’s valuable when potential clients are considering your firm. It shows that you’ll bring perspective to problems and challenges and look for new ways to overcome them.
  4. Think Before You Speak — Keep your finger on the pulse of what everyone else is saying, but don’t just go along for the ride. Train your brain to think differently. Why? Because when everyone else is thinking alike, they aren’t necessarily thinking at all.
  5. Don’t Be a Contrarian Just for the Sake of Being One – You have to actually know in your heart that your comments or views are true to what you believe. Just trying to be different can make you look foolish and can come back to bite you. So make sure your viewpoint is thought through and makes sense.

Leaders realize that some of the most important lessons are not obvious because they are counter intuitive. It shows that you will go the extra mile to find the right solution, rather than the easy one.

Part of taking a contrarian viewpoint is the realization that you can’t be all things to all people. So, it you want to attract clients that value and respect your opinion and are willing to pay for it, this is the route for you.