How To Get Support For Your Great Idea

“One of the best ways to persuade others is by listening to them.”

    –Dean Rusk, former U.S. Secretary of State

Getting Attention to Gain Support

Managerial attentiveness is certainly high on the list of employee wants/needs.


But how about when it’s time to gain support for your idea or program? Managers at all levels will give you their attention if you understand how to legitimately capture it. Here are four ways to diagnose listener preferences and deliver your message. (It’s often helpful to be able to sort and classify).

1. The “Trend-Chaser”: Help Them Follow The Fad

These folks pay attention to what others are doing. Perhaps they need to feel like they “belong”; maybe it’s just a matter of not thinking too much. Who knows? It doesn’t make any difference. You need to provide social proof–testimonials–of what other people think about your ideas.

Use these phrases:

“The benchmarking companies have implemented . . .”

“The top experts in (name the appropriate field) have just written that. . .”

“Statistical trends now show that. . .”

2. The Analytical: Facts and Stats

Even though we know for a fact that people decide based on emotion, these people need to hear supporting evidence. And you’ll be questioned on it, so be prepared. They won’t go to a fast food outlet without seeing which one has the “best” value meal: $1.00, $.99, or $1.03. Why? One reason is that they want to be confident that they can give a “logical” answer should someone ask them. So, give them the confidence with facts and figures. Quantify everything.

3. I Love A Challenge!: Overcome Obstacles

Routine bores this group. When the sun rises, they’re ready to assault a mountaintop. When they hear that something can’t be done, it energizes them to prove otherwise. So, tell them:

  • The system doesn’t work
  • It’s too late too change (or too early)
  • They can’t afford to do what will really make a difference

Watch them leap into action when you present your ideas as barriers to be overpowered. 

4. What’s the Payoff? Incentives & Rewards

Here’s the group that examines the benefits of your idea, both organizational and personal. They want to improve their situation every day. Show them “how to”.

  • How to increase profitability
  • How to reduce conflicts
  • How to be more effective at managing
  • How to leapfrog their career

These are Four Biggies that I see regularly. If you have experiences that show another category with descriptions, weigh in with a comment!



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Steve has designed and delivered leadership and communication programs for some of the world's largest organizations, and has more than 30 years in training, development, and high-level executive coaching. His Roesler Group has created and delivered leadership and talent development internationally for corporations such as Pfizer, Minerals Technologies, Johnson & Johnson, NordCarb Oy Ab, and Specialty Minerals--Europe. Steve is currently involved in the latest update of his Presenting With Impact program, a cross-cultural presentations workshop that has been delivered on five continents to more than 1,000 participants representing nearly 60 nationalities.


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