Many of us have brilliant ideas but find ourselves unable to communicate them in an effective manner. Perhaps we’re nervous about our ideas being rejected, are shy, or are just not very adept at getting our points across. Regardless of the reason, being able to present one’s ideas effectively—whether to a boss or to a group of friends—is an important skill. The following are six tips that will make people tune in when you start talking.
- Speak with authority: How you say something is just as important as what you say. People will take your ideas seriously and believe they are valuable if you speak with confidence and passion. Avoid phrases that make you seem unsure of yourself, such as “I think my plan may work” or “I’m pretty sure my idea can help the company perform better.”
- Show that you’ve done your research: Decision makers are more apt to appreciate your idea/opinion if it is backed by credible research instead of just your gut feeling. When possible, present findings from key sources that suggest your idea has merit. You should also know possible objections people may have regarding your idea and be ready to address them.
- Be concise when stating your idea and ask for feedback: Make your idea easy to grasp by explaining it as simply as possible, and try to be brief. People may begin to tune you out if you are longwinded or seem to be purposefully using unnecessary jargon or flowery language. After you’ve stated your idea, continue to draw your listeners into the conversation by asking for their feedback. By getting others’ opinions during the conversation, you may be able to curtail any doubts someone has about your idea.
- Explain how the idea/plan benefits everyone: Using concrete examples, show how your idea benefits everyone listening, not just the people who are able to approve it. Your goal is to build consensus and demonstrate that you are looking out for the best interest of everyone in the group or company.
- Watch your body language: Your body language should exude confidence. Maintain eye contact and good posture when you are presenting your ideas, and do not fidget with anything.
- Dress appropriately: Your attire will be judged, along with your ideas. Don’t draw attention away from what you have to say by wearing provocative clothing or something too casual for the environment you’re in. A good rule of thumb is to wear a business suit when presenting in a formal setting.
Follow these tips when presenting your ideas and people will respond more positively to you, and be more likely to seek you out to generate new ideas and answers to problems.