February 23, 2012
Liz published this at 1:09 pm
In order to move up the professional ladder, a person must not only prove to be an excellent worker, he or she must also be a leader. After years of doing what others tell you to do, the only way to get to the next level professionally is to assume the role of a leader â€“ an idea man or woman.
In order to assert yourself and make a bigger impact within your company or with clients, you will need to take that leap from following directions to suggesting a whole new set of directions to follow. Furthermore, it is not good enough to have a great idea â€“ you need to be able to present it successfully as well.
Here are some tips to get your ideas not only heard, but also to gain respect as you learn what appeals most to the audience you want to influence and persuade.
Know Your Audience
If you are going to impress your audience, know who you’re addressing. In many cases, you are not pitching these ideas directly to the “boss.” Make sure you’re bringing your idea to the people who have the power to put it into motion or take it to the next step.
Once you have chosen the right audience, get to know what makes those people tick. Find out what appeals to them and what benefits you need to stress in order to capture their interest in your idea. Once you know who is in the audience, you will be able to perfect the presentation of your idea for them.
Perfect Your Presentation
Sharing ideas is not something that should be taken casually. If you really want to show that you are serious about an idea, itâ€™s best to plan it out and present it immaculately. A simple mention of your idea beside the water cooler just wonâ€™t do in most cases. Prepare your presentation and if the venue allows, enrich it with visual or multimedia aids. It’s much easier to keep interest when your presentation is multifaceted and includes more than you speaking while your audiences imagines what you’re proposing.
Donâ€™t shy away from rehearsing your presentation either. Just like you wouldnâ€™t sing a song at a talent show without practicing, you shouldnâ€™t be presenting a serious idea without practicing your talk. The better prepared you are, the more confident you will be, and that can make all the difference in the world.
Be Ready to Answer Questions
Whenever you are presenting an idea in a business setting, you may be met with questions about the downside of your idea. People will want to know how to fund it, what resources it requires and any and all weaknesses that might get in the way of success.
Think ahead about the parts of your presentation that could be unclear to your audience, and address them beforehand. Consider questions that good business people ask and objections that are common in your business and from your audience. Have a proper justification and reason for everything you suggest. Be prepared to explain the reasoning behind every aspect of your idea and plan.
It helps to be flexible going in. Know which facets of your idea that can be changed or altered without sacrificing the core of the plan. Bring some suggested alternatives with you in your initial presentation.
Use Rejections Constructively
If and when your idea is turned down, see it as an opportunity to learn more about the goals of your audience. If you always quit on your idea after one rejection, you’ll never gain the respect of the people you’re trying to convince. Think through the feedback as you listen to it. Is the problem the idea or the execution of it that you suggested? If you’re not sure, find out. Sometimes the people you’re addressing have information that you didn’t have.
Be Ready to Go Back to Work
Find out whether the idea is dead or can be revised. Some ideas are too expensive, too labor intensive, or make more work than they’re worth. That doesn’t mean that parts of those ideas aren’t worth exploring further. If you hear that there’s still a chance, go back to the drawing board and apply what you’ve learned. Implement changes in your idea to address the objections that were voiced during your presentation. When you’re confident in your new plan, ask for a meeting to share the revised plan.
Remember, the goal of setting out an idea in business is to enlist support for a project you believe will help the business grow. People will be looking for how well you listen as much as how well you present. If you’re truly interested in the goals of the audience and what works for them, you’ll get noticed as someone who is not only interested in his or her own success, but in the success of the business as well.
What advice do you have for enlisting people in your ideas?
David Lazar is a blogger at CometDocs.com. With a background in journalism, he enjoys writing about and following a variety of topics, including careers, technology and new media.
Thank you, David!
–ME “Liz” Strauss
Work with Liz on your business!!