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Plain Talk About Innovation

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on November 2, 2010

You can have the greatest idea in the world—which doesn’t matter if you can’t persuade anyone of its value. An idea, however innovative it may be, is not useful until you translate it into a product, service, or method that brings about positive change. In order to make that happen, somewhere along the way you will need to convince investors, colleagues, or customers about its value. Your message must be simple, clear, and exciting to get them to support the idea. Consider the advice of presentation design expert Nancy Duarte, who recently wrote a book intended to help readers sell their ideas more effectively.

In Resonate, Duarte writes: "The future isn’t just a place you’ll go; it’s a place you will invent. Your ability to shape your future depends on how well you communicate where you want to be when you get there." According to Duarte, an idea’s perceived value isn’t judged just on the idea itself; how well it’s communicated is also crucial. Frame your ideas in classic storytelling techniques and they will become "downright unstoppable."

Duarte recommends that presenters "hop down from their tower." She writes: "If you’re an expert, you can’t assume that people have kept up with your field. Using highly specialized jargon when you’re addressing nonspecialists can hamper your efforts and reduce the amount of help you receive from them—solely because they don’t understand what you’re saying."

She’s also clear that others need to adopt the idea before it can take off. "Ideas are not really alive if they are confined to only one person’s mind. Your idea becomes alive when it is adopted by another person, and another, and another, until it reaches a tipping point and eventually obtains a groundswell of support." Make sure your idea picks up that support by communicating it effectively—and simply.

Carmine Gallo
Communications Coach
Gallo Communications
Pleasanton, Calif.

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