Have you ever noticed that your boss doesn’t always agree with what you suggest? Sometimes it’s because he/she just don’t agree the idea is good. Often, though, it’s because the idea wasn’t presented in a clear, concise, confident and competent manner. What impresses bosses?
A well-thought out message
Plan it before writing it. Know the outcome you want. Tell your boss right up front. Don’t write about why you think it’s a great idea, write about why your boss might think it’s a great idea. Be specific and complete.
A concise message
Great ideas get lost when the reader has to do the heavy lifting. Ramble and you’re done. You have a maximum of two, very short paragraphs (bullets encouraged) to persuade him/her (but really, if your idea doesn’t resonate within the first line, expect your message to be overlooked until, um, later). The point of those two paragraphs is to excite the reader so s/he wants to learn more.
A solution oriented message
Don’t write until you have a solution. Don’t ask them “what do you think?” Tell them what you’d like the next step to be and offer to take it, as soon as they approve your concept.
A correct message
You say your boss doesn’t care about typos or grammatical errors and that his messages are a mess of mistakes? He cares. It’s a case of do what I say not what I do Yes, it would be lovely if she took the time to show respect for you by proofing before sending (and it’s smart business, too because it takes more of your time to comprehend misspelled words and follow fractured phrasing) but don’t count on it. You’re being paid to pay attention to the details. He is being paid to contribute big picture. Oh, and bosses whotake the time to double check their messages before sending them to you have zero tolerance for people who don’t.
A smart and clever message
Every business has a culture that is supported by idiosyncratic ways of doing things, and jargon. Use the prevalent in-company buzz words to show your boss you get it. Review the way your executive writes and mimic his pattern (within reason – see above). Is she fluffy or concise? Does he include small talk or get to the point? Does she present positives before negatives or the other way?
Having your idea ignored because it doesn’t fit the company structure is one thing. Having it ignored because you explained it poorly is another.
What other ideas do you have to be heard? I’d love to hear!