So you have a bright idea that would benefit your company, but how do you convince the executives to give you the go ahead? It can seem daunting, but following these six steps could get you the green light.
1. Visualize Your Success
To some, this may look like a new age meditation practice but consider for a moment how often we naturally imagine failure without even giving it a second thought. We imagine the entire conference room laughing at us and tell ourselves that our ideas will never work. These thoughts make us feel timid and incompetent. When we visualize our greatest fears, we sabotage our success.
However, what if we visualized our victory? What if we imagined a round of applause and a standing ovation? We would spur in ourselves a confidence that oozes into our presentation. In a study done by TD Bank, they found advancement was higher for those who have a firm vision of their success and keep their eyes on it through their endeavors, especially those who collected and displayed images that represented the fulfillment of their goals.
2. Know Your Audience
Have you ever tried to persuade a two-year-old to pick up their toys? It probably consisted of fun music, games, or a treat. If you tried the same tactic on a teen, they would roll their eyes and call you insane. That is because the toddler views the music, games, and jelly beans as a beneficial side effect. The teen, however, will never in his/her life, consider such silliness as useful to his/her world.
In the same way, you must take into account to whom you are presenting your project idea. Are they collaborating co-workers or elite executives? Share holders or senior management? How will your project benefit them? Will it increase productivity, revenue, or profit margins? Will it decrease expenses or labor? Make sure you spend a considerable amount of time focusing on the “why” during your presentation. Ultimately, they will want to know what’s in it for them.
3. Be Compelling
It is not enough to only mention the advantages of your project as if it were an afterthought. You have got to present it with compelling evidence and numbers. Chart out the profit increase or the labor decrease. Let them see with their own eyes and process with their minds the benefits of adopting your project.
Use questions that intrigue, like “Did you know that improving the NPS score of your products or services by 5 points can lead to 150% more revenue? Given that, this project will pay for itself in a matter of 6 months.” Be ready to share your assumptions that lead to this claim or research you have investigated that shows this to be true.
4. Use Your Strengths
Let’s face it. There’s just some things that you are good at and some things you are not. Find your strengths, using a strength survey such as StrengthsFinder 2.0, and capitalize on them. Perhaps your top strength is strategic thinking. Use these your natural super powers to plan and plot your entire presentation sequentially. If your strength results label you a learner, then do what you do best. Sit your rump down and research. Think ahead to the questions your audience may ask and find those answers, so you are prepared with a quick and accurate reply. Whatever your top strengths, use them to your advantage and watch your confidence grow.
5. Follow Up
Once you have presented your project and addressed all spoken concerns, walk away with your head held high, because you capitalized on your natural assets to deliver a confident presentation catered to your audience. Allow them the appropriate amount of time to consider it. If you do not hear anything within that time, do not shrug it off and decide that they hated it. Contact the member of the group who is responsible for reporting a decision to you and ask for an update.
6. Keep At It
If the answer comes back as a “no,” do not take it personally. Find out why the project was denied and reevaluate. What can you do to change your idea or evolve your growth? If the project is important to you, start over and make the necessary modifications. Then go back at it. Present your better project with greater confidence and more organization than before.
While this formula does not guarantee you a green light, it will produce a higher success rate, and you will feel great in the process. For further ideas on how to unleash your natural strengths and build a significant and meaningful career, schedule your 30-minute call today.