When you consider yourself to be an ambitious professional, you’re probably looking at everything you can bring to the table at your current workplace. Being able to provide more than your coworkers can help you climb the ranks within your company by proving your value. The fear of rejection might make you hesitate in pitching your ideas, but if you approach your pitch with the right strategy, you won’t have anything to worry about.
Consider the Value of the Idea
If your idea is really only half an idea, you’re not in a position to make your pitch. You need to be able to answer a few questions: Does this idea solve a problem? Is this idea profitable? Is there an easier alternative to my idea? How will my idea be implemented?
If you have answers to all of those questions, you have an idea that’s ready to be pitched. If it isn’t, you’ll need to find answers or modify your idea in order to satisfy the criteria. When you bring it to your boss, your boss will see and understand that you’ve developed a clear vision.
Show How Your Idea is an Innovation
In order to provide value, your idea needs to be innovative. You should develop a concept that moves up, rather than across. If it doesn’t make a huge change above a current process, product, or service, it may not be worthwhile to pursue that idea. Be prepared to present the full scope of what changes with your idea. You’re selling this idea, which means you need to make it attractive to your boss. Your emphasis should be placed on “better”, rather than “different.”
Compare Your Ideas With Your Competitor
Everyone in business is looking to be more competitive. If your idea will help you successfully compete, it’s automatically more attractive. It’s time to start researching what your competitors are doing and analyze your ideas against theirs. Will your idea give you an advantage that could lead to a larger share of your market? Will it bring you into the future to keep your competitors from overshadowing you? The best pitches place an emphasis on one-upping the people you’re going head to head with.
Come with Paper
Words can be interpreted in many different ways, but numbers don’t lie. Prepare the facts and figures ahead of time to support your idea. If you already know how the idea would be implemented, pitch it with that plan. If you can put together the package deal and put it all into writing, your boss will have all of the information he or she needs in order to give your idea the serious consideration it deserves. Even if you don’t get a decision right away, having the documentation keeps your idea on the table.
Be Open to Feedback and Criticism
Your boss might like some parts of your idea and dislike others. It’s important that you don’t take it personally. Instead, use this as the perfect opportunity to show your boss how receptive you can be. You might need to modify your idea in order to satisfy the concerns of your boss, and that’s fine. It’s collaboration, and welcoming another perspective can help your idea become better. If you can’t work out the kinks, you can always come up with a new idea.
It’s important that you don’t stop pitching just because your first pitch didn’t go the way you wanted it to. Trial and error is how innovators are born, and if your boss sees that potential in you, that might mean even more than getting the credit for the next big thing to happen in your workplace.
This article was contributed by guest author Camilla Dabney.