A key—and often overlooked—aspect of every manager’s job is selling your recommendations and solutions. The pace, volume, and competing priorities that management faces daily means that it’s unlikely that most of what consumes your daily life is top-of-mind for decision-makers. Consider the following before you bring your solutions to the table.
- Time your conversation. Know what is happening in the company. If you need money for your project and the company is not making their numbers, you might want to delay your request.
- What exactly are you asking of your audience? Are you asking for an OK to develop your idea further? Are you asking for input? Are you asking for a green light? State what you’re looking for upfront so that your meeting/conversation/presentation is productive.
- Set the right frame. You need to make sure that you/your audience are starting from the same assumptions. Think about what you’d need to know if this was a completely new topic. That’s where your audience is starting. What’s obvious to you needs to be surfaced so your rationale can be followed.
- Make it easy for them to give it to you. If you’re asking for a green light, you’ll need to include some information about other options you’ve considered and why they didn’t work. Maybe you should provide a 1 pager with key points reiterated so if the request has to be signed off by others your manager will have what they need to give it to you. Think about what will help them help you.
- Pitch for a short attention span. You love your idea and we like to talk about what we love. Your audience isn’t there yet. Take a look at your talking points and edit out everything that doesn’t tie directly to your key point. With all the other responsibilities your manager has you want to make your content clear, concise, and memorable.
Using these tips habitually will help keep you focused, improve your efficiency, and increase your productivity.