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Make your ideas stick

Even brilliant talkers get ignored

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in Dealing with Bosses,Office Management

You can make insightful observations all day long. But the way you deliver them determines whether your bosses listen.

If you mouth off too much, you can wear out the people you want to persuade. They may tire of your pontificating and ignore you.

Use these tips to make your opinions count:

Pose a riddle. Present an apparent contradiction, then resolve it. Example: You note that customer complaints are down but so are repeat orders. You conclude that the company assumes it knows its customers, when in fact it’s in the dark. Then you propose a survey to learn why they aren’t reordering.

Seek others’ opinions. Rather than jump in with your analysis, wait your turn. Define the problem and ask what your colleagues think. Usually, they’ll wrap up by volleying back, “What do you think?”

Piggyback on what you hear. Rather than contradict someone, find an area of agreement. Then say, “We share many of the same views. My opinion differs primarily in that ...”

Ask for permission. If no one asks your opinion, test the waters. As the conversation winds down, ask, “May I add something?” Wait a few seconds for everyone to stop talking. Establish eye contact. Then begin when you have their full attention.

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