Do you have an idea to improve something in your organization? Although it's probably a terrific thought, oftentimes "buy-in" or getting colleagues on board relies on how educated the employee "pitching" is on what needs to be changed.
However you go about pitching a project to a decision-maker, make sure you are prepared to answer tough questions, particularly around implementation (costs, time, etc.). That said, here are six different ways to pitch a project that can appeal to people with different skill sets and comfort levels of presenting information to others.
The most traditional way to present formal information to colleagues is to create a presentation in PowerPoint or similar tools, like Prezi, Google Docs Presentation, Keynote, SlideRocket and others. Presenters should remember PowerPoint best practices, such as using large enough font so people in the back of the room have no trouble reading the slides, not using more than three colors on the slides, remembering less is always more, practice, etc.
There is a major advantage to sharing a video of yourself or others pitching a project. Videos remove the anxiety associated with presenting in front of others and they can be edited until you are pleased with the final product. Additionally, if they are short enough, they are easy for your audience to consume and pretty cheap (if not free) to produce if you are comfortable using your computer's video software or your smartphone and a private YouTube channel or email for distribution.
There's a reason why infographics are wildly popular. They present information in a way that is informative, visual, quick and shareable. Getting infographics right can be time consuming for those not familiar with working with this format, but there are some free infographic builders that provide templates and are a great opportunity for those creative types (e.g. designers) to showcase their talents and their pitches. Check out Website Magazine's "Social Show and Tell: The Image Toolbox."
4. Mini Business Plan
Business plans are the cornerstone of any company, but may not be thought of as a way to pitch an internal idea to higher-ups. By establishing what the project is, who is going to work on it, how much it is going to cost, how much it could make in return and how it will be promoted, your pitch can really stand out, because it's well planned and shows initiative. Before you start, review "5 Tips to Create, Conquer a Business Plan."
5. Elevator Pitch
Thirty-60 seconds could make or break an idea, so if there isn't a formal opportunity to present a project, perfect your "elevator pitch." Make sure it's attention grabbing (know how you are presenting to in order to tailor this to their interests), compelling (why they should care), includes a call-to-action (what is it that you want them to do...make sure you ask for it) and has follow up built in (how will you help them take the next step). Also, use your discretion as to when it's appropriate to pitch someone in your organization. For example, downtime at a tradeshow or after a meeting is a lot more appropriate than a party or, worse, the restroom.
6. Persuasive Article
If your idea is out of the norm, perhaps you should consider writing it like a point of view (POV) article or similar commentary with the intention of pitching it to news outlets. Before you do, however, show it to your boss and ask for approval and next steps to implement your idea, which will leave it in his or her court, so make sure to follow up.