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How Can I Present my Ideas Persuasively?

Not only should you know what it is that you want but you also have to visualize it in terms of the other person’s needs. Consider the implications of your idea. When you present it, be as specific as you can. The key to getting buy-in is to make sure the idea meets some self-interest for the other person. You need to answer the question: What’s in it for me? Document specific advantages, and provide convincing supporting data.

Even then, you may encounter resistance. If you expect opposition,defuseitbeforeitisraised.Stateityourselfasavalidcriticism of your idea, then systematically and objectively disprove the objection to the idea, speaking calmly and objectively like an innocent bystander, not as a defender.

If the idea is rejected, find out why. It may be possible to overcome the objection by making adjustments to the initial idea. If you get what you want, include a reassurance that the person will like the final results. Leave the meeting with the increased possibility that he or she has positive feelings about you.

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It may help you to think about some common objections before you present your idea, so that you’ll be prepared:

  • Why should we fix something if it ain’t broke?
  • It will cost too much.
  • It is too risky.
  • We tried that before.
  • We don’t have experience with this.
  • Let’s wait to see what our competitors do.
  • We don’t have the resources just now.
  • There’s too much going on right now.
  • I just don’t think it will work.
  • I agree, but they won’t.

If you know the person to whom you are presenting your idea, you may be able to anticipate the specific objection that will be used. If you can do so, be prepared. State the anticipated objection as though it is yours, then dismantle the objection piece by piece. If you get hit with an objection you didn’t expect, listen carefully. If you aren’t clear about the objection, probe. Acknowledge the wisdom of the objection: maybe ask for validation or substantiation for the objection. Don’t argue or become defensive. Attack the question raised, not the questioner.

Show how you might be able to handle the objection. If resistance to your idea continues, solicit the objector’s plan for overcoming his or her own concern. "How do you think we can overcome this problem?" Close ranks to find a way to overcome shortcomings in your idea. If you see yourself losing, leave the door open. Ask, "I’d like to think through your concerns to see what I can come up with. May I come back?"