If they’d only ask what you thought. You have twelve ideas percolating in your head
about ways to improve the business processes, but will anyone listen? You want to
stand out and be heard, but you can never seem to get a word in.
Making sure you are seen and heard in the crowded marketplace of ideas and
personalities can be a challenge. Distinguishing yourself, however, is essential to
success in the world of work. Following are a few practical and concrete steps to help
you perfect your “pitch” and become a powerful advocate for your own ideas.
Prepare your Pitch like a Pro Broadcaster
Articulating your idea in a clear, concise and compelling way takes preparation – no
shortcut here. For each idea you have, create a pitch and rehearse it until it rolls off
your tongue with ease. Utilize the formula most broadcast news stories are modeled
Headline (what is the big-picture attention getter?): I have an idea that will
broaden our consumer reach by 20%!
History (what’s the background/context?): We’ve struggled in the past with
reaching college students, and so I’ve created a prototype for an app that will
help us penetrate the college market.
Example (make it real by referencing an example): I tested it with a group of
Georgetown students this past week and the response was enthusiastic.
Action (identify the next steps): If this idea appeals to you, I’d be happy to
demo the app to you and the senior team whenever you are ready.
Picture who you’ll Pitch to
Search the company website to find a photo of the individual you want to sell your
idea to. Enlarge it on your computer screen and direct your pitch to the photo.
Practice your pitch while looking into the eyes of your future audience. It’ll go a long
way in helping you feel comfortable in your communication.
Spot the Right Opportunity
Rather than hoping for a random moment when you might attempt to squeeze your
idea into the conversation, take a strategic approach to identifying the right time.
Look at the agenda for upcoming staff meetings. Is there a spot for your idea? Are
there key influencers who you can socialize the idea with in advance? They may
advocate for you and ensure you are heard.
Ask for 5 minutes
“Donna, I’ve got an idea that will save us money on our upcoming product launch.
Can you let me know when you’ve got five minutes to talk?”
Busy people shy away from open-ended statements like, “Let me know when you
have time to discuss an idea…” That kind of vague request is difficult to say “yes” to,
because the necessary time commitment is vague. Requesting only five minutes lets
the listener know you are prepared and committed to being brief.
Pitch the Path
After you’ve shared your great idea, follow it with recommended next steps:
• If you’d like to pursue this, I’d recommend drafting a press release…”
• If you are ready to proceed, I can draft an overview of the process for your
A call to action is critical to galvanize your listener. Be confident and clearly outline
the path ahead.