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Three Simple Strategies to Get Your Ideas Heard

Three Simple Strategies to Get Your Ideas Heard

One of the frequently asked questions I get when I conduct workshops for startup entrepreneurs is, “How do I get my ideas heard?” Whether you’re in an important meeting, making a speech, or chatting with a key contact at a networking conference, it’s essential to hone your message in advance to get those ideas in front of people who can help you move them forward.

Here are three strategies that can help you get your ideas noticed.

Start with the headline.

Too many people take too long to set up their idea with background information that builds to a thesis sentence. Instead, start with your headline to give your audience a reason to listen.

In journalism, there’s a device called the inverted pyramid. In the days of typesetting by hand, this upside-down triangle indicated that the most important information went on top to avoid having it truncated if the newspaper ran out of space.

Today this concept is a good idea given modern short attention spans. Get to your main idea right away and then build your case with supporting points.

[Related: Want a Rapt, Non-Cell-Phone-Surfing Audience for Your Next Presentation? Here's How.]

Say it shorter.

Blaise Pascal, 17th century philosopher and mathematician, famously said, “I apologize for the long letter. I did not have time to write a shorter one.” Again, we’re working with short attention spans nowadays and brief is better. People can ask clarifying questions if they want more information.

The easiest way to get to the memorable, impactful message is to test it with audiences outside of your sphere. I facilitated a workshop where one participant struggled to make a two-minute speech about a lengthy scientific paper she had published. By working with the other participants who knew nothing about her topic, we honed the message to three brief points that captured the essence of her topic.

Try presenting your idea to friends who work in a different business to make sure your idea is easy to understand and free of jargon. Einstein said if you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.

[Related: Top Tips for Webinar Presenters]

Close with a call to action.

I call this putting a star in the notebook. As you complete your idea, help your audience remember what’s truly important. Use phrases like “the most important thing to remember is…” or “I hope you will take action on this by…” to help them understand your goal for presenting this idea.

By creating your message plan with intention and understanding how your audience will listen, you'll have more confidence that will shine through, whether you're presenting at a team meeting or your next big conference.

[Related: The Power of Engagement]


Janine MacLachlan helps professionals amplify their leadership voices. She is a marketing strategist with a passion for a more innovative and creative approach at work and in life. She coaches at 1871, Chicago’s hub for digital startups, and serves on the Chicago leadership team of Ellevate Network.

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