Tell me if this sounds familiar: You've come up with an idea that will save your organization time and money, you think through the details and pitch your idea to your boss. But, when the time comes, she doesn't put your idea into action.
1. Test the waters before unveiling your big idea, suggests Marie Heaton, assistant to the VP at Northwest Evaluation Association in Lake Oswego, Ore.
"Identify a small process that is hindering your work flow and suggest a new process," Heaton says. Example: "Offer to process the mail or the filing differently. Carefully observe how your manager responds to your idea."
2. Prep like crazy. Before pitching an idea, ask yourself: "What questions will the boss ask?" Then, be sure to have the answers.
"Develop a good understanding of your idea," says Jocelyn Rodgers, administrative assistant at D'Ambrosio Eye Care in Lancaster, Mass., "and changes it could bring."
Joy Meyer, executive assistant at Sonora Regional Medical Center in Sonora, Calif., also preps by figuring out how her idea might affect other departments or stakeholders.
3. Speak the boss's language. "If your manager responds better to oral communication, then talk about the idea," says Heaton. "If your manager prefers the written word, or charts and graphs, develop a presentation that demonstrates your main points."
Remember: The problem isn't with your good idea, it's with the way you're presenting it. Use this guide to make every idea a grand slam: The Art of Selling Your Ideas4. Catch the boss on a light day so she has time to listen, advises Rodgers. It also "helps your side," she says, if you stay away from the boss on days right before or after her vacation.
5. Pick your battles. Rodgers prioritizes her initiatives by trying "to present what really matters most
to me or what I think is the most important to cover."
6. Put yourself on the calendar. "I schedule myself as an appointment on my boss's calendar to present any ideas," says Meyer. "This way, I'm afforded the same respect and time as another manager or director."
The Art of Selling Your Ideas includes a checklist to consider when formulating your pitch … examples of everyday ideas that sprouted into something big … and lessons from seasoned salesman Kenneth Dobrer.
- Why sharing ideas – or even giving them away – can help your career
- Why it pays to keep an eye on the competition and your company’s trends and culture
- How to tailor your pitch to get the response you want
- Why the right timing and audience are so important
- How to bring about success by thinking politically
- The difference between pitching an idea to a group and giving a speech or presentation
- How your voice and body language can improve your communication
- And much more!
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