Have you ever had a phenomenal work idea – but never summoned the courage to share it? If so, you’re not alone. One study found that 85 percent of employees withheld their ideas because they were afraid to speak up.

Sometimes people keep their ideas to themselves because they don’t think anybody wants to hear them. Other times, people stay quiet because they doubt their ideas are any good. Just imagine all those great ideas that never get spoken or that get lost in the black hole of a suggestion box. Don’t let that happen to you or anyone on your team.

In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we’re highlighting tips from writer Sam Milbrath on how you can pitch your great ideas and keep them moving up the chain of command at your company. While these tips may prove especially helpful for less-experienced professionals, anyone can use them to move the needle on their ideas.

1. Fit your message to your boss. When you frame your great idea in a way that makes your boss care about it, you’re more likely to get the green light from them. Milbrath points out research that shows that tailoring your message to your manager’s personality can increase the likelihood that your idea will be endorsed by nearly 20 percent.

2. Meet one-on-one first. Before introducing your idea in front of the whole sales team, talk with your boss first — either in person or during a video one-on-one. And let them know that you have an idea you want to pitch, Milbrath says. This will help show that you’ve thought through your idea and you’re ready to take the next step.

3. Make sure you have solid rapport. If you’ve just joined your team or your boss has just joined, allow some time to establish a solid working relationship. Most bosses are receptive to hearing ideas, Milbrath says, but it helps to have rapport built up before pitching anything new.

4. Reference what your boss has said. This shows that you have been listening and understand what they value, Milbrath says. Try to use their language and verbiage to make your idea align with what matters to them.

5. Guide the way forward. Don’t make your boss guess about what comes next — walk them through your plan. Talk about how you think your idea helps your team and company, Milbrath says, and show them how you think your idea could be put into action. Doing this can help lay a strong foundation that can work in your favor during the pitch.

It takes creativity to come up with new ideas and courage to share them. The next time you have a bright idea at work, consider the five steps above to make your pitch stand out.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Sam Milbrath is a writer who contributes to the Trello blog.