3 tips to pitch a great idea at work

It happens to all of us.  You wake up in the middle of the night and suddenly, you have the idea of a lifetime and you want to sell this idea to management and colleagues at work.  So how can you ensure that you have the greatest chances of selling your idea in to your management and peers?

It’s fairly simple, and in many cases, it comes down to a matter of being clear, concise, and ensuring that who you are pitching too really understands the idea you are proposing and what the business impact will be. To that end, here are 3 helpful tips to help you pitch your idea in the workplace.

  1. Draw a picture. Before you approach your manager or coworkers with your idea, make sure you diagram out your idea as accurately as possible so that both the approach and the results are clear and easy to understand. Most often, great ideas go under appreciated and undervalued because the person on the receiving end never really understood the idea to begin with. Especially if it’s a complicated idea, nothing beats a thoughtful  Powerpoint slide or two that helps illustrate your plan.
  2. Show the business impact of your proposal. While your idea may make perfect sense to you, don’t forget that other people do not have context, nor do they share the insights and thinking that lie within your mind.  Even basic details that you may assume “everybody knows” may not be common knowledge, so documenting the logic and base assumptions, and ultimately the projected impact of your proposal will help others understand the significance of what you are proposing.
  3. Create an advocate in advance. Getting early buy-in of a concept from a co-worker can be enormously powerful when presenting a new idea.  Regardless of whether this person is your manager of a teammate, if you can sell your idea in to a colleague in advance of broader presentation, you will have a wing man who can offer visible support of your idea and potentially help provide explanation to others down the road. Validation is a powerful tool, and guaranteeing validation of an idea beforehand will go a long way in the sell-in process.
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