Pitch it, until you Stick it.

Your ideas that is. Pitching your ideas is not just done during projects where you have that light bulb moment. Pitching your ideas is asserting yourself whenever you believe a change in course is needed or you have a fresh take on how things should be handled in your firm.

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The problem is not in having a lack of relevant ideas. As smart intuitive women, we’re full of them.

Our problem as women is communicating and delivering our ideas so that they stick.

There is an internalized fear that we may appear pushy which conflicts with our femininity. Early on in my career in corporate America, the following scene played over and over again. I would pitch an idea to my manager and then wait. Then I would wait some more. Still waiting, until something happened. Then one day in a meeting, he would announce that very same pitch (or someone else would) and I would be left sunk in my chair thinking:

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Hang on a minute, wasn’t that my idea someone else is now taking credit for?

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This scene replayed itself  a few too many times until one day I woke up and realized, it’s not that my ideas weren’t good enough. I wasn’t doing a very good job of pitching them because I didn’t believe they were worthy enough.

 I wasn’t pitching anything. What I was doing was akin to taking a tiny piece of paper, scribbling my thoughts on it,  slipping it under the door of my manager, hoping he would look down and see it.

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So here’s some pitch worthy acts you need to put into play which will get their attention and the visibility you deserve.

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Pitching your ideas means:

  • Suddenly standing up in a meeting (yes a little drama is healthy) grabbing a marker and drawing a picture of your ideas on a white board as you see me doing above.

 

  • Grabbing your manager after a meeting and saying the words: ‘I have a new way of approaching this project and would really like to run it by you, when can we chat?

 

  • Playing devil’s advocate and asking a profound question in a meeting that questions whether the game plan agreed to by the group is really water tight, by saying: “I’m going to play devil’s advocate here, what if we lose power across the entire east coast, what’s the contingency plan then?

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In other words,

demonstrating leadership qualities means going against the grain, sticking your neck out a little and going big, by throwing in a dash of drama to get everyone in the room’s attention.

Did you know that in the US, taking an acting course is very common for managers and professional speakers so that they may develop their professional presence when they walk into a room?

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Making big footprints is what makes you memorable and gives you visibility in  a firm. It doesn’t matter if your ideas are sold or not. Don’t be afraid to respectfully speak up when you don’t agree with someone, especially your manager. Management wants to be challenged and impressed, it means that they’re doing their job well growing a team of thinkers and not YES people. Should your manager not be interested in your ideas or what you have to say, then you may have another issue there. Is this the culture where you will grow your career and advance?  Good managers hire people that learn their job better than they did and who think creatively.

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Raising your hand, pitching your idea tells a very compelling story about you: you are committed, you are a risk taker and a leader in the making.

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Seminar Programming for Women Leaders is open in London, choose your Saturday: November 3 , November 10th at Kings College of London. See you there!

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Psssst, if you like this career post pass it on, social  media bar below.

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