How to Successfully Pitch an Idea to Your Boss (Even If You’re Not the Outspoken Type)

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Feeling heard and valued in the workplace shouldn’t be an impossible accomplishment. If you know your company down to the smallest detail and you work hard, your perspective has the potential to shape and mold the future success of everyone affiliated with that company.

Despite the knowledge that you’re working for the greater good, it may not always be easy to get your ideas out of your head and into the real world. A carefully crafted approach can help you find the confidence you need to enrich the professional interests of those around you.

Thoroughly Document Your Idea

Impactful ideas are never so simple that they can be thoroughly expressed in a few words. If you want your pitch to count, you’ll need to know exactly how to document it. Typing out your idea in great detail will give you time to observe and highlight the finer points. It also gives you multiple delivery options. You can practice and memorize your detailed pitch, or you can speak a little and hand your boss the document for the review. You won’t need to worry about glossing over anything crucially important or misspeaking if you’ve had enough time to perfect the presentation of your idea.

Consider Contingency Plans

Your idea might need some work. There may be factors that conflict with your end goal, making it difficult to accommodate some of the finer nuances. Other things may need to change in order to make that idea feasible, complicating its implementation. If your idea is strong enough, these accommodations may be worthwhile. If your boss needs to do mental gymnastics to figure these things out, she may be hesitant to give it a shot.

Think about anything else that may need to be reworked or modified. If you have suggestions for those things, note them. Include proposed changes with your idea proposal to make even the most difficult idea seem viable for implementation.

Wait for the Right Time

Even though you’re completely prepared, your boss might not be. Your idea may require an hour or more of discussion. If she has a lot to do, she might not be able to give you the time and attention you deserve. Let your boss know you have a big idea you’d like to discuss at her earliest convenience, and tell her you’ve prepared all the necessary information for that discussion. 

Allow her to get back to you when her schedule will allow her to be fully present and engaged. Great things aren’t worth rushing. You don’t want to run the risk of her misunderstanding or feeling overwhelmed by everything you’re putting forward. If it takes a while, use that time to your advantage. You may come up with more ideas or improvements for your ideas in the interim.

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Make Sure You’re Comfortable

In order to speak freely and confidently, you need to be comfortable. Comfort isn’t a necessity, it’s a luxury. If you’re packed into a skirt suit that feels too tight and wearing heels that are squeezing your feet, your discomfort will be a constant distraction that may translate as a lack of confidence. Truthfully, most womenswear is not at all designed for comfort.

Wear something that makes you feel as though you look great, but be sure that you have full range of motion. Becoming animated and gesticulating during your presentation will only serve to show your passion – don’t let your clothes stop you.

Take and Apply Feedback

Your boss might turn you down during your first pitch, and that’s absolutely fine. She might provide you with feedback, concerns, and information about obstacles. This doesn’t mean your idea will never come to fruition. It simply means you need to modify your idea and its trajectory based on new information, something that true innovators and entrepreneurs do. The most successful people will experience a barrage of rejection before they find the idea that makes the biggest impact, but continue to pursue these ideas through to completion. 

In short, successfully pitching your idea is equally a matter of clarity, confidence, and resilience. Approaching the process from the right place without reservation is the secret to moving mountains in the business world.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. “Let your boss know you have a big idea you’d like to discuss at her earliest convenience”
    Totally agree. Speak up.

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