How to get people to listen to your ideas
Being in a new job or new working environment can be exciting in that there is so much to learn. Even if your role is similar to work you’ve done before, a new company will have their own systems and ways of doing things. At the same time as you’re learning the ropes, your experience could be valuable to the company too. You may be able to identify areas where things could be more efficient, or have ideas on a simpler methodology that would save time and money.
But if you’ve only been in your new role a few months, you may be hesitant to speak up for fear of sounding like a know-it-all. So how do you get people to listen to your ideas that you believe will help the business? Here are a few simple tricks that can get people listening to what you have to say.
Make the effort to get to know people in the business, especially if they have a particular area of expertise. Ask for the opportunity to learn from them as you orientate yourself in the ways the business operates. Be respectful and polite and be careful not to interrupt their work day if you can see that they are really busy. Offer to assist with simple admin tasks if you have the time available. As you get to know your colleagues with work focused conversations, there will also be opportunities for you to talk about your experience, ask questions and possibly suggest ideas. Once people know you, they’re far more likely to listen to what you have to say.
This goes beyond understanding what your job involves and what the company does. It takes a look at what the company culture and ethos is, and what their vision is for the future of the business. When you considering making suggestions that you think can improve the business it’s always a good litmus test to see if it aligns with the company vision. It may be a good idea, but if it’s going to take the business in a direction where they’re not actually heading then you’re on the wrong track. However, if you can demonstrate how it will support the company vision, then you’re more likely to get others to listen to your ideas and give them serious consideration.
People are often hesitant about new ideas because they aren’t sure if they are actually going to work. If you can prove that they can, or have, there’s a much better chance they’ll consider implementing your ideas. So if at your previous company you oversaw a project, explain how it could work. Share detailed figures of costs, as well as possible earnings. If you have data you can share on the specific results you achieved, even better! If you don’t have personal experience, but know of other companies that have achieved success with an idea, try get as much information as possible so that your idea has some level of evidence that it could enhance business success.
If you have ideas worth implementing, you may be asked to oversee the project. Be prepared for this and have a plan of action for how to get things going. In fact if you can share this action plan when presenting the ideas, it will help your employers envision how it could work and give them the confidence that you know what you’re talking about.
You may have a great idea, but presenting it at a time when the company is experiencing slow sales or lower output may not be idea. If there is a great deal of uncertainty in the industry, the company may prefer to play it safe and not start new projects or invest in new ideas. Keep up to date on industry events and news and be wise about presenting ideas when they can support an opportunity or help mitigate a threat. It’ll increase the chances of your boss listening to your ideas.
The culture of business is changing and many employers are more open to suggestions from employees, especially if the business can benefit. If you have what you believe are good ideas, don’t be shy about sharing them. But do use our tips to increase your chances of your people listening to what you have to say and giving you an opportunity to implement them.