When proposing solutions to management or executives, you know that you’re under the gun. You need to be clear, concise and make a compelling point that is difficult to deny. How do you do that effectively? And how do you accomplish your goals in the short timeframe you’ve been given to make your presentation?

The first step is to think like management. What do they need to know? What’s in it for them and the company? The following four tips will help you prioritize your information and earn the approval you deserve.

1. Think about how to reduce costs and increase profitability.
Executives and managers are charged with doing more with less. It is crucial that you put your idea, recommendation or solution in terms that will meet this goal. If you can tell an executive how your idea will either save them money or increase profitability, you will be on your way to getting the idea approved. If you cannot provide this information, your idea may be shot down before your limited timeframe to present is even up.

2. Think about short and long term results.
We all know executives are busy. They have a lot of tough choices to make and are pressured from various stakeholders. As a presenter, it is your job to make their life easier. Give them information that will make it obvious what choice they should make regarding your solution or recommendation. Do the thinking for them by explaining the short term and long term impact of your recommendation. There might be short term costs but long term profitability involved. Don’t leave it up to them to figure that out. Spell it out.

3. Think about where the resources are going to come from (people or finances).
Your recommendation will likely require an initial investment. Even if there are long term gains, you still need to address where this initial investment, whether it be manpower or finances, will come from. You should provide two or more clear suggestions regarding staff and fund allocations. This shows that you have fully thought your proposal through and are aware of the investment required. Most importantly it takes the guess work out of it for the executive.

4. Think outside the box.
You may be addressing a problem that had been around for years and the status quo is no longer efficient. Ask yourself, “How can we do it differently?” To stand out from other managers, consider how you can do something in a more productive, efficient way. Be creative. Even though the bottom line (cutting costs and increasing profitability) is important, executives also want to know that you can solve problems.

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