How to Present Ideas That 'Click' with People

By Kirschner, Rick | Work & Family Life, December 2011 | Go to article overview

How to Present Ideas That 'Click' with People


Kirschner, Rick, Work & Family Life


Some people you just click with. Communication flows. You feel appreciated for who you are. And clicking with the people you work with can make everyone happier and more productive on the job.

You may think of quick and easy connections like this as something that just happens, or it doesn't. People get you or they don't. But the truth is, clicking with people is a skill like riding a bike, and we can make it happen.

It's worth learning too

At the workplace, we can learn to click more effectively with coworkers and customers. Then, once you've made an initial click, you have a green light to share your ideas. To do that successfully - to continue the click - you need to know how to share an idea and how to convey it persuasively.

The key is for other people to think of your idea, at least in part, as their own. To get there, you need just a few tools for clear, concise communication.

Keep it short and simple

To deliver a message as briefly as possible, aim precisely at your goal.

* pUT THE MOST IMPORTANT INFORMATION up front. Lead with your main point. For example: "It's about making connections," works better than, "Business books are more popular than ever in this down economy, and...."

* Be specific. Include key details such as names, places and actions. But don't tell them everything. Give them the bottom line clearly and early on. If people want more information, they will ask for it.

* FOCUS ON GOALS, NOT PROCESS. State your desired result rather than elaborating on the process of getting there. If there's an action you want someone to take, tell him the specific desired result rather than elaborating on the process of getting there.

* Choose familiar words. Do not try to impress people with your vocabulary. Familiar words make it easier for people to connect with your ideas.

Be clear and direct

Tell people what you're going to tell them and why. For example: "I have a proposal that we XYZ, and I think it will excite you as much as it does me. I bring it forward because we have a unique opportunity now. Here are some of the key details."

* Make it stick with examples AND NUMBERS. Use statistics sparingly. They can be helpful but rarely count as vivid language.

* Point the way forward. After you have presented your idea, tell people what you want them to do and why. The more specific you are about a desired direction, the easier it is for people to consider going there.

Repeat and restate

Repetition is no substitute for conviction. But when you have confidence in your ideas, it can help you. Just don't say the same thing over and over, however. It's irritating, and our brains crave novelty as well as reinforcement. …

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