Let's say you have an incredible idea that will revolutionize your company. But, for whatever reason no one will take you seriously. Your immediate superior, who typically claims your concepts as his own, simply shrugs off your brilliance with flat indifference. In desperation, you break ranks and pitch your genius concept to the CEO at the company picnic. You are so taken with your own masterful performance that you fail to notice that the buffet table has hijacked your Chief Executive’s attention. Finally, your powerful summation is met with a patronizing pat on the back and a half-hearted thank you.
This is the last straw; the total lack of vision is so frustrating that you become a disgruntled mass of burning rage. If this sounds familiar, you are one of many who could benefit from a few basic strategies for influencing people.
1. Rock Your Business Hat
“It is useless to be an original thinker unless you can sell it.” - David Ogilvy, Marketing Executive Tweet this!
It can be intoxicating to feel like you hold the key to undiscovered potential. But without a compelling estimate of risk, investment and return, you will find yourself alone in your excitement.
Tip: Use a reputable business template as a guide for drafting a bulletproof proposal.
2. Get In Her Head
“If I'm not interested in something, I don't grasp it.” - Richard Branson, Founder Of Virgin Group
Your idea might be a perfect solution for a problem that doesn’t exist, at least, not in the mind of the key decision maker. It is critically important to know your audience’s goals and pain points or you will risk appearing like an irrelevant distraction.
Tip: Read all your CEO’s social posts, study every email and listen carefully to each speech. Identify any reoccurring themes that your idea might address.
3. Master Your Message
“If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough.” - Albert Einstein, Theoretical Physicist Tweet this!
Most leaders have zero time or patience for the finer details of any subject. Luckily for you, a strong idea needs very few words to convey its value. Hollywood has perfected brevity by boiling down a movie pitch to one sentence. For example; the Keanu Reeves film Speed was sold as “Die Hard on a bus.”
Tip: Reduce your idea’s description down to its bare essence. Test a few variations on your friends before settling on a tagline that is both descriptive and leaves them wanting more.
4. Pimp Your Brand
“Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room” – Jeff Bezos, Founder Of Amazon
If you are not known as an authority on your idea’s subject matter, then you have some personal brand building to do. The captain will be more likely to turn the ship around if the warning is coming from an iceberg specialist.
Tip: Position yourself as an expert by selflessly volunteering your skills to office initiatives. Your passion and interest in your chosen discipline will quickly establish your credibility.
5. Raise An Army
“A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.” - Martin Luther King, Jr., Civil Rights Leader
You cannot rise to the position of CEO without a good measure of political savvy. So, If you are able to drum up grass-roots support, the Chief will be compelled to consider your idea, if only to avoid appearing out of touch with popular opinion.
Tip: Make it a habit to do favors for coworkers whenever the opportunity presents itself. The average employee is not incentivized to risk their own reputation on a plan that benefits the company’s bottom line. However, most will return your kindness with a valuable vote of confidence.
6. Own The Moment
“You don't have to swing hard to hit a home run. If you got the timing, it'll go.” - Yogi Berra, Baseball Player
Timing is everything when pitching an idea. Is your CEO is a morning person, or she more relaxed after lunch? Knowing when to strike is key to a successful presentation. This is why it is important to schedule your meeting when your audience is most likely to be receptive.
Tip: Work with the CEO’s assistant to plan your pitch meeting during a lull in scheduling. This will help avoid conflicts, cancellations and a distracted audience.