Most people who think of a great idea want to hit the ground running.  While I can appreciate the sentiment, most people blazing a new trail are going to have a rougher start.  It may be rocky at the start, but eventually you CAN start running.  So, you have a great idea, and you’re hoping people will hear about it and think it’s great too?  But how do you take this concept in your head and convey it to others?

For me –I use stories.  I always have.  I take an idea or concept that I’m thinking of and I relate it to things that people will understand.

For example, when I talk to people about social media marketing, I talk about gym memberships. You say you want to lose weight (reach customers on social media). You’ve said you’re going to do it, you signed up for the gym, but you’re not going to see results unless you start going. Just like with going to the gym, you have to actually show up. Create a plan and then execute it.

When you’re using stories to get people to relate to your idea you may have to try several different times.  Sometimes you have to try different stories to get people to get it.  And it may take more than one session.  If you need that person to be on your team, and they’re not seeing your vision the first time, then you have to get creative and try from several different angles in several different sessions.

In addition, you have to be able to read situations.  If you’re using a story to explain an idea, you have to be able to assess as you go.  Does the person you’re talking to understand what you’re trying to say? Are they with you? Are they following along? Do they see the analogy you’re making?  Don’t go off on a tangent for thirty minutes just to finish your speech and then look around and realize you’ve lost everyone.  You have to be able to explain and relate through stories, watch and listen to how people are reacting, and then regroup if necessary. That story or analogy didn’t work?  Try again.

Another tactic I like to use is getting several people on board, giving them the idea and then having them give it back to you.  Have them present it to you.  When they do, you may realize that they’ve actually looked at your idea and come up with a new way of thinking of it that you didn’t previously consider. It may not be your original vision, but you can incorporate pieces of both your original idea and their interpretation of it and come up with a great collaborative idea.

Take the best of both ideas and create a better one.  You have to be willing to take input and consider other perspectives.  This will also get people to buy into your idea more, because they feel like they are truly contributing to the vision you have illustrated for them.  Getting people involved, gets people excited.

What are your tactics for getting people interested in your ideas? Do you think that collaboration helps or hurts a project or idea? How often do you use stories to explain your ideas to people? Comment below!