Pitched poorly, even a bright idea can vanish into dull stares, like light gravitating into a black hole.
If you feel all of your suggestions plummet into silent oblivion like timber crashing in an empty forest, then career counsellors recommend you ought to brush up on your storytelling.
Because, they say, the art to hustling a routine recommendation -- to make your two cents ring like five -- is to pack a plot into your propositions.
“It’s like selling detergent,” executive coach Jane Cranston says. “Don’t tell them, ‘Oh, this will clean your laundry.’ You tell them it will make their old clothes shine brighter, feel softer, bring the colours out.”
Pushing a proposal with the pizzazz of a wandering bard requires a gift of gab you may never learn in an MBA program, she says. But it’s a technique any rube can master.
Start by fathoming what motivates your audience. Ask yourself, “What’s in it for them?” Cranston offers.
“Present your ideas in a way that will either save the company money, make it money, buy it time, save it time, or earn it prestige,” she advises.
“If it doesn’t do any of those things, they’re probably not going to listen.”
Don’t be shy to spread credit if it boosts your chances, suggests career coach Lynn Berger.
If your company prefers propositions that emanate from more highly-titled or highly-favoured pundits than yourself, you can always hitch your idea to the chassis of another’s.
“Try piggy-backing on someone else’s idea,” she says. “When someone raises a point, say, ‘Ooh, that’s interesting,’ and work your idea into theirs.”
Failing that, come into the brainstorm session with a bucket of good ideas.
“Rather than being rigid on one idea, bring up a couple of options,” Berger recommends. “That way, you’re not feeling like you have to have the perfect answer.”
However you sell your suggestion, “start with the positive,” Cranston stresses.
Qualifiers like “I’m not sure if you’re going to like this, but” will never help you, she explains.
“The wrong way to present an idea is any form of aggression,” Cranston warns.
If all your tips hit a cool reception, you’d best stage an equally cool reaction.
“Occasionally, you have to let it slide,” Berger notes. “You can’t get worked up every time your ideas aren’t heard.”