I recently wrote a post about having something to say. We should all develop opinions and thoughts about ourselves and our businesses in order to help achieve good things. But that prompts the question, when and how do you present what you have to say?
First, let’s talk about when. We’ve all heard the old cliché, “timing is everything.” There’s a lot of truth to that. If you’re not dealing with an urgent matter, it could be beneficial to think about when you want to discuss it. Some things to consider include:
The mood of the person you will be talking to. If your boss is in a cranky mood, that might not be the best time to ask for money to go to a conference. Just sayin’…
Find when the person is most receptive to ideas. I once had a boss who would walk by my office every morning (really early) on his way to Starbucks. If I was there, he’d invite me to join him. It was a great time to get his attention without interruptions. On the other hand, another boss of mine loved talking in the car on the drive home. Figure out what works for your situation.
Also, don’t forget the opportunities a ‘meeting after the meeting’ can present. It’s amazing how sometimes people will be receptive to ideas once they leave the boardroom and are in a more relaxed setting. And no, I’m not suggesting you ply your boss with alcohol to help your cause. Just remember – when people don’t feel the pressure of a structured meeting, they might be more willing to listen and engage.
Now, think about your message. What’s the main point you’re trying to convey? If it’s simple, you might be able to introduce it at a meeting or during a casual conversation. If it’s complicated, maybe all you want to ask for is an opportunity to present your thoughts. I’ve seen ideas get completely shot down because people launched into a full-blown, detailed, lengthy conversation when they should have asked for the ability to be heard – whether that’s at another meeting or via a written proposal.
The last thing to consider is whether or not you need some support for your thoughts before sharing them with senior leadership. Yep, it’s called buy-in. Maybe ask a few colleagues to hear you out and get their support. If a couple of co-workers like it – great! They might even have some suggestions to make it better. And, if no one is jumping on the bandwagon with you…ask yourself why. Maybe it’s time to re-think.
As a manager and leader, I’m sure you have plenty to say to improve your department and business. Finding the right words and the right time to express your ideas, will go a long way in your success.
But be prepared. Even the best ideas get turned down every once in awhile. Hmm…do you think there’s another post? Stay tuned.