Tips to improve selling your ideas

An idea is only a good one if it’s acted upon. That’s why my idea to invest in Google circa 2004, my idea to learn Mandarin, and my idea to get regular car maintenance were all bad ones, I never actually did anything with them (RIP 1989 Saab 9000).

Now in a personal setting, you have only your own inertia to overcome. In the enterprise, you’re seldom the only decision maker involved. Mark May wrote up a nice breakdown of how to be a better communicator and sell your ideas. It’s an important idea. When dealing with numerous decision makers, each with their own priorities, you can’t simply rely that a good idea will rise to the top, Mark presents some of the ways you can better advocate for you own.

My personal favorite is limiting selection while still presenting other options. It’s the Blockbuster effect, you’ll never get the movie you want if you don’t narrow down the selection. At the same time, if you insist right away on Lethal Weapon 3, everyone will think you’re being bossy. Narrow down the selection to a few well chosen alternatives, and make your case.

Mark provides another example of why enterprise IT is just as much a communication field as a technical one.

Virtual Storage Zone comments:

sales1996 was a memorable year. It was the first year of the MLS in the United States, the Nintendo 64 was brand new, Windows NT 4.0 was released, I graduated high school, and some friends and I started a local Internet Service Provider. It was the year my passion for technology transformed into a career. In the decades since then, I’ve picked up many skills to bolster my toolkit ranging from networking, Oracle databases, Unix administration, programming, and storage architect. Learning new technology and keeping your skills current is something everyone in IT, from operations to development, understands the importance of.  While learning new tech is always a great idea, too many people often overlook two important skills: speaking and selling. Since I recently spoke on speaking,  I wanted to spend some time talking about selling – and I don’t mean a person trying to sell their wares to a customer.

Selling, in this context, is taking an idea and pitching it to the powers that be at your organization. By default, many engineers are terrible at selling an idea.  I know I used to fall into that category,  but with lots of practice and time I’ve improved. I think this is one of the most important skills for everyone to have,  so I want to share some tips I’ve learned over the years.

Read more at: Tips to improve selling your ideas

Image Credit: Sean MacEntee

About the author

Rich Stroffolino

Rich has been a tech enthusiast since he first used the speech simulator on a Magnavox Odyssey². Current areas of interest include ZFS, the false hopes of memristors, and the oral history of Transmeta.

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