Make it easy for people to say “Yes!”

Have you ever made a decision to go after something you really wanted or needed, feeling totally confident and sure that you could get it, only to find your confidence, or the confidence of your audience, slipping away half way through your presentation, pitch or proposal? Not a good feeling!

Maybe you needed an extra staff member, a top up of your budget or a new piece of technology for the office. It seemed like a no-brainer but they said no! Perhaps you wanted to get the go ahead to introduce a new product or service but other people just didn’t get it or you had decided to go for a job you knew you were perfect for, but the people you were dealing with just didn’t seem to get you!

When you go after things you really want and it works out, there’s no better feeling in the world. But when it doesn’t, it can knock your confidence a little or, depending on your personal investment in it, a lot!

Where does it fall down?

There’s a number of reasons why presentations, pitches and proposals don’t get the go ahead like bad timing, change of circumstances, too much competition or too little funding. However, it might surprise you to know that the one thing that stops people saying “yes”, again and again, is a lack of clarity.

In 90% of the cases where managers come to me for help because the interview didn’t go well, they didn’t get the job, they were refused the additional budget or they didn’t the get buy in they needed from their boss or their staff, when we go through it we find that, somewhere along the way, what they were proposing wasn’t clear.

How can it not be clear?

You may be thinking “but I’m always clear about what I want and why I want it so how could that be the problem?” and you’re right. There is no problem with that. The problem is that other people can’t always see what you see. Having very different views, perspectives or beliefs can make it harder for other people to automatically see the benefits and worthiness or a proposal or idea and that’s what we want to address.

When you are crystal clear about what the direction you want to go, it can be very tempting to throw yourself straight into it and take action right away. However, if you find yourself coming up against obstacles, challenges or questions that you didn’t expect or consider along the way, that fast action can end up slowing you down in the long run, even forcing you to rethink your approach or abandon your idea altogether.

Put yourself in other person’s shoes

In today’s market, with so many people competing for the same budget, the same jobs and the same resources, it’s important to be really clear on what you’re proposing, why you’re proposing it and how it will impact others.

By taking time to mentally walk around your proposal, look at it from every angle and identify and address some of the questions or challenges other people are likely to have, will make you much more confident in presenting it and much more likely to win other people’s confidence in what you’re proposing and your ability to deliver it.

Use this template to build your confidence and theirs

Before a presentation of any kind, work through the following questions. Then adapt the template to structure your presentation or proposal to bring your audience from A to B, sharing your vision for the future and how the benefit for all.

Where are we now?

  • What is the problem?
  • What is the issue?

Where do we want to be?

  • What is the vision?
  • What do we want to achieve?

Why do we need this to happen?

  • What needs to change?
  • What are the benefits?
  • What will happen if it doesn’t happen?

Who do we need to make it happen?

  • Who will be directly impacted?
  • Who will be indirectly impacted?
  • Who’s help or support do we need?

How can we get them on board?

  • What’s in it for them those impacted and those whose support we need?
  • What are their concerns or objections?
  • How can we get them on board?

How can we make it happen?

  • How do we propose to address it?
  • What options are available?
  • What are the expected outcomes of each option?
  • What is the preferred option and why?
  • How can we measure its success?
  • What specific help do we need and from whom?

What are the next steps?

Be clear, be calm, be confident

Next time you get an idea you want to develop, find a problem you want to address or spot an opportunity you want to pursue, take some time out, grab a cup of tea, a pen and paper and find a quiet space to work through these steps. Even in situations where you have to respond quickly or need a quick decision, don’t panic. Make it a habit to run through these questions in your head and get the clarity you need to succeed. You’ll be glad you did!