“You can have brilliant ideas, but if you can’t get them across, your ideas won’t get you anywhere.” – Lee Iacocca
One of the most frequent challenges I hear from professionals is, “My boss won’t listen to my ideas. I see lots of opportunities to make the company more successful, but every time I approach him/her, I get immediately shot down. How do I get him/her to really listen and accept my proposals?”
First of all, you can’t make your boss do anything, but you can set the stage for the best possible outcome if you create a plan of action before you meet with them.
The two main reasons people have trouble communicating powerful ideas is:
- Their own lack of self confidence.
- They don’t get clear about what they want before they have the conversations and end up coming across as not being fully prepared.
Your power and your identity is a direct result to your ability to make powerful requests, present powerful ideas, and handle difficult conversations with ease. Consequently, the degree to which you are competent at getting your point across clearly and succinctly is the degree to which you are successful in your business dealings, whether it is with your boss or your team.
First and foremost before you start designing your conversation, set a scheduled time, or make an appointment with the person you want to have the conversation with. Don’t wait for the perfect opportunity to present itself, like catching them in the hallway or waiting for them to be in a good mood. I’d say that 99.9% of successful professionals create their own opportunities in advance. Taking someone by surprise by the water cooler and trying to convey your ideas is not the best idea. By scheduling a specific time to go over your action plan shows the other person that you are serious about your ideas, and that you care about the success of not only yourself, but the company as well.
Here’s one of the main things to keep in mind: the key to effective communication is to be solution oriented, not problem focused. If you start off the conversation with, ‘If you’d only do…” type of statement, chances are you’re going to alienate the very person you’re trying to impress. Use the guidelines below to determine your conversation before you open your mouth to speak. (You’ll avoid shooting yourself in the foot if you follow these!)
- What is your intention for having this conversation?
- What is the breakdown you are addressing? Clearly define what’s working or not working.
- What is your proposed idea? Is it economically feasible?
- How will it benefit company? Additional revenue? Better systems?
- How will you make it work? This is where YOU come in. Have a well thought out plan of how you’ll implement the changes should it meet with their approval.
Use these steps as a guide to practice getting your thoughts together. If you need to role play with someone, choose a person you know well and trust. Role playing does help you build your self-confidence and also gets you grounded in reality. I often do this with my clients and they tell me it works every time.
If you want to create a vision and plan of action that empowers you and your team and ignites productivity, email me for a FREE Get Acquainted Session today at: Info@CookieTuminello.com.