Have you ever felt frustrated or emotional after speaking to your boss because he just shot down everything that you had said? Do you not look forward to meetings and brainstorming sessions because you know that whatever you say will not be considered or even listened to by others? Don’t worry; you’re not alone. The good news is that there’s a way to get them to listen, and, no, it doesn’t involve force or inflicting bodily harm.
Know your boss’s communication preference
If you need to pitch an idea or suggest an action plan, you have to do something that will increase your chances of a good outcome. You need to know what methods your boss prefers concerning communication and when the best time is to communicate with him.
Does your boss prefer face-to-face conversations, or is he more of an email-and-text kind of guy? Does he prefer to talk on the phone, or does video calling work better?
Don’t beat around the bush
If you can say what you need to say in the space of a Tweet, do it. Senior level managers and supervisors have a lot on their minds and even a lot more on their plates. They usually don’t have time to listen to lengthy pitches or drawn-out speeches about worker conditions or employee engagement.
State what you need clearly, and let your boss know what action you expect from him. Give a short version of your pitch, but make sure that it’s complete, interesting, exciting, informative, and feasible. Follow it up later with the details. Remember that in this case, less is always more.
Consider your timing
When your boss is having a bad day, it’s better to reschedule. Your brilliant idea may not sound as brilliant because he happens to be feeling distracted, emotional, or exhausted at that moment. Try not to schedule a meeting first thing in the morning when he obviously hasn’t had his cup of coffee yet. You’d also want to avoid setting up a meeting just before he goes at the end of the day. His mind would be on his dinner plans by then.
Don’t come and see your boss when you’re emotional. You’ll get a much better result if you maintain your composure and your professionalism. If you are rational and objective, it will be easier for your boss to have a dialogue with you, and it will be easier for you to get him to listen. If you can manage humility or inject humor into the conversation, so much the better. Remember that he is your boss, and he deserves to be shown respect, even if you don’t always see eye to eye.
Look at the big picture
Perhaps what you’re feeling at the moment only affects you and not the whole department. Maybe some tough decisions were made because a lot more people will benefit from it in the future. Maybe there were more budget cuts this year so that more people will get to keep their jobs. Show your boss that you can see the situation from an employee and an employer’s point of view. Let him know that you don’t wish to advance your interests, but just want to lay all your cards on the table.