By Marilyn Vinch
Success in business requires doing something a little bit different to everyone else. You can impress your boss with hard work and dedication, but all that’s likely to get you is more of the same; true progress requires fresh ideas and original thinking. Perhaps this is why management can be so reluctant to hear ideas out or give them a shot – fear of being usurped by the next big thing!
Of course, while that may be the case in rare circumstances, most bosses want to see innovation and success in the workplace, whatever the source of new ideas. What holds them back from rubber-stamping your suggestion may instead be fear of risk, of cost, or simply lack of time to properly consider your proposal. As such, these are all elements to take into consideration when you are preparing your pitch.
Your idea, then, should not be predicated purely on its novelty or your excitement. Rather, it should at least appear to be rooted in a problem that you are endeavoring to solve. Do your research, figure out not just the problem itself but its various causes, and plan to address each one in your presentation. Think about what your idea will cost in time and money, and demonstrate how you will make this worthwhile.
But don’t just concentrate on the idea itself. Sadly, even the best ideas can fail to make an impact if the tone of the pitch is wrong. It may be hard to believe, but your boss is human – and will respond to certain types of body language and spoken language better than others.
For example, you should maintain eye contact to create trust and demonstrate your confidence. If it’s just the two of you in the room, you should probably glance elsewhere from time to time – at your notes, for example – so that it doesn’t get creepy! But if there’s more than one person in the room to whom you’re pitching, you can vary your eye contact by directing each sentence at a different recipient.
Speaking in ‘threes’ also seems to have a positive effect when convincing someone of your case, so try to link three elements in each of your sentences, such as who has a problem, why that problem occurs, and how you propose to solve it.
Selling ideas at work is a real art-form, but if you want to progress in your career then it is worth learning to do so. You can find a full guide to pitching ideas in the infographic below.
Courtesy of NetCredit
About Marilyn Vinch