You’ve come up with a brilliant idea for a project that you feel way passionate about. You’ve done enough research to know it will work, and you’re confident that it would be a good fit for your company and its audience.
So why is the very thought of pitching the project to your boss making you weak in the knees?
The truth is, pitching even the most well-thought-out ideas to a skeptical superior can be intimidating.
But have no fear: We looked to a number of recent Quora threads—answering questions that range from “What are your secret weapons during a pitch?” to “What are the first words I can say to get someone to listen to my pitch?“—to hunt down users’ best tips and tricks for getting your boss to listen to your big idea.
Check out our five favorites here:
1. Tweetify Your Idea
You’ve been told that the best pitches are short, but have you ever been told to condense your idea to the length of a tweet?
That’s right, folks: Quora user Sreenath Kurupath Sudhir suggests coming up with a 140-character summary of your pitch. If possible, this description should answer the following questions:
- What is your idea?
- What problem does it solve?
- Who is your audience?
Sure, it’s tough, but it condensing your message will help you get to the heart of your idea—and pitch presentation—quickly. “For me, this is the sheet anchor,” Sudhir writes.
2. Ask a Provocative Question
When pitching an idea to your boss, it’s important to have her attention from the get-go. One way to do this is by opening with a compelling question.
“Generally speaking, I find that asking a provocative question, even if you intend to immediately answer it, is a good way to get someone’s interest,” Colin Wright says. “I find this technique works almost always, because most people can’t resist at least thinking about a question—even if they can resist answering it vocally. They definitely will answer it in their heads.”
3. Start and End Your Pitch with a Beautiful Visual
Are you presenting your idea via good ol’ PowerPoint?
Thought-provoking visuals will help your pitch pack a punch, Quora user and “pitch receiver” Tim Berry says. “First, start your pitch with a beautiful photograph that illustrates the problem your business [or idea] solves. Leave the market numbers for later, to support the story and flesh it out,” he writes.
“Follow that with a beautiful photograph that illustrates your solution to that problem. Make it dramatic. We want the facts and numbers of course, but we’re going to evaluate your pitch on whether or not we believe, not what your numbers say.”
4. Be Interested, Not Just Interesting
Believe it or not, pitching is almost as much about the feedback you receive as it is about your actual pitch.
It’s critical to really listen to what your boss has to say about your idea—and then act on it. “Hear the issues they have and work to address them in the room, or commit to coming back to them in a time frame, e.g.: COB today or tomorrow by 9 a.m.,” Tom Ellis says. “This shows the ability to follow up and deliver and can set the tone for other conversations.”
5. Keep It Super Simple
As Quora user Philip McRell brilliantly puts it: “If your grandma understands it without you breaking script and teenagers think it isn’t boring, you are well prepared for success.”
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Levo League!