So you're creative. Smart. Capable. A real tough cookie, they say. And you have a fantastic idea.
You practice the pitch and finally get to that meeting, that coffee shop talk, that two-minutes in the lobby.
You pitch your idea to a colleague and...
They don't "get" what you mean.
At first, you ask yourself: Maybe it me? Was it them? Are they just...stupid?
You ask for clarification, but the moment has already been squandered. It doesn't matter. No one understood. No one believed.
We like to believe that we're amazing communicators. Hell, we've only been speaking for our whole lives, right? And we are convinced that our ideas could change the universe if it wasn't for the idiots that "don't get it".
But you're wrong.
We are sometimes the biggest nurturers of miscommunication in our lives. And in turn, we sabotage the potential of our best ideas.
Yeah, the ones that can change your life.
There are better ways to be heard.
It starts with asking fundamental questions about how you speak, utilize body language, and seed your idea in the minds of your audience. It sounds complicated, but it really isn't.
It's a game you win or lose.
1. Remember no one is obliged to listen to your idea.
Know this: your audience has no reason to support you, believe you, or buy from you. It is up to you to make your words matter to the hearts, minds and sensibilities of your audience.
And it starts with listening to your audience.
Research what you're talking about and listen, deeply, to the person you are talking to. Think micro and macro. There is no such thing as "doing what you want" when you are trying to garner support.
The best way to help people understand -- is to understand people.
What facts, insights and emotional triggers will help people open up to your idea?
How can you use case studies, target demographics, and personal stories to engage people?
How can you take a simple problem and offer them solutions in a precise and concise way?
Remember: everyone wants to hear a great idea. We want to be a part of one. But it is your responsibility to do the hard work.
2. Slow down
We are emotional creatures, first and foremost. If you want people to think a different way, make them feel a different way. But all of that can't happen if you are stumbling to get to the next sentence.
Try something easier. Use what you are naturally born with to engage, entertain and enlighten your ideas.
If you're not a joker, don't try to be one. Just know how you are going to make people feel. The rest comes with practice.
So slow down. You'd be amazed at how many pitches are ruined just by someone rushing through it.
Speak clearly. Don't rush. Enjoy the moment. Your audience will thank you for it.
3. Stop being defensive.
We hate it. For some, it's an automatic deal-breaker.
It's easy to get excited about an idea and talk about all the positive reasons why it will be an instant success.
It will change the world, man! Really!
But if someone doesn't believe you, don't shut-down. Don't keep going back to the same plus points. Don't be so defensive that you are not open to any feedback.
Instead of being defensive, be honest.
Illustrate the strengths, pitfalls and weaknesses of your idea, too.
It shows you have done your research, you are not blinded by creator's passion, and it conveys a more intelligent, objective, and genuine persona.
And that might generate confidence in not just your idea -- but you.
Communication is a game of frisbee.
You have a message, you throw it, and the other person receives. You may throw your frisbee horribly. Or the receiver might fall on their face and miss it completely.
But they either catch it or they don't.
So reflect on the way you play the game of communication at all times.
Train that arm. Pitch yourself differently. Be aware of your surroundings. And edit yourself ruthlessly.
Your success might depend on it.
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