Impressions matter. For better or for worse, most judgments and decisions are made with at least a minor emotional bias.
When presenting a new idea or proposal or seeking buy-in, too many people depend solely on substance and forget the importance of good communication.
Here are a few tips on how to convey your message and win support for your idea.
- Be Concise – know what you’re communicating and do it in a simple and concise manner. Make sure that you can frame your discussion, walk your subject through a logical thought process, and summarize your point. The message itself is the foundation of your communication. You have to nail it or nothing else matters. Get to the point and move on. Don’t let tangents or ramblings get in the way of the substance of your discussion, otherwise, you’ll simply be sucking the oxygen out of the way.
- Come Prepared – looking like you have your act together is half the battle. You’d be amazed at how far little things can go. In the early years of Three Pillar, I would set up water pitchers and glasses, notepads, pens, index cards, and other tools around a conference table for a simple pre-sales meetings with a prospect. It was amazing how far these small items went towards landing new business. They communicated that we were prepared for the client and that the meeting was important. It set a tone that I had my act together and that I expected to be productive. It helped me command attention since, at that phase, the business itself could not. This may be an extreme example for many instances, but it demonstrates a point. Communicating preparedness goes a long way.
- Be Passionate – if you can’t get excited about your own idea, then how will anyone else? Let your passion show through. Show that you care and are invested in your concept while maintaining an open mind and showing a genuine willingness to adapt based upon meaningful feedback.
- Use a Wow! Factor – professionalism is an absolute must and most people know it, but don’t underestimate the power of Wow! Sharp-looking visual aids and other creative support for your idea will create a positive emotional reaction and build confidence in your abilities. The right aids will also help demonstrate your idea in a visual manner and will provide the “pop” you need to push your idea over the edge.
We can all recognize that a clean, concise, and easy to understand message is easier to digest and ultimately buy into. Simultaneously creating an emotional response by being prepared, passionate, and bringing the Wow! can often put you over the edge.
What other techniques do you use to communicate and present ideas? What works for you and what doesn’t?