As per the eSourcingWiki article on The Quest for Purchasing Fire, it can be tough to get your idea approved. That’s why you need to take the advice of the experts from time to time, and this recent post over on the HBR Blogs on How to Get Your Idea Approved is a great start. Especially the second step of:
Prepare, Prepare, Prepare
As Michael Norton says, “when you watch someone stumble through an answer, you make an inference that they don’t know what they’re talking about“, so if you stumble through an answer, you can expect that your audience will think that your idea is half-baked, which will greatly reduce your chances of getting it approved. A major key to success is to identify the potential concerns of your audience up front and then prepare concise, honest answers to their challenges that you can deliver with confidence. Even if they don’t buy in, they’ll be a lot less likely to fight your idea. And then, you need to:
Keep it Simple
As Norton says, the curse of a presentation is that you know much more than your audience about the topic, but you have to avoid overwhelming your audience when you present the idea. You need to focus on the main points, which should be presented in the language of your audience, so that your audience will grasp the benefits quickly, and avoid tangential wanderings into secondary points unless they come up in the course of Q&A. And even then, you have to keep your answers concise. (Only go into the full details in the full written proposal, and only give it to those who ask. Provide everyone else with short executive summaries.) Finally, it’s important to:
While its important to form alliances early, it’s also equally important to maintain those alliances. You’d be surprised how fast those alliances could go up in a puff of smoke if you don’t maintain your connections, keep them apprised of what is going on, continually address their concerns, and, of course, socialize.