How to Have Your Suggestions at Work Taken Seriously

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Wouldn’t it be awesome if everyone at the office loved us? If every single time we opened our mouths and suggested an idea, our coworkers clapped and screamed and hollered at how brilliant we are? Sigh. One can only dream. As many of us unfortunately know, work can be a battlefield and it can be total war trying to get your ideas heard, let alone completely respected. There are tons of different reasons for this, and to be honest, they all suck, ranging from jealous coworkers to those wanting to assert their power and show you who’s boss. If you’re struggling to contribute to your office, check out this how to guide on how to have your suggestions taken seriously. You’ll never be ignored ever again. Hallelujah.

1. Be Super Specific

If every time you speak up in meetings you give a vague list of ideas or suggestions for what’s being discussed, it’s no wonder you’re not being taken seriously. Sorry. But it’s just the bitter truth. Think about how you react when someone makes a suggestion: if they seem to know what they’re talking about and have a clear sense of the idea, you’re going to get on board ASAP and be into it. If they stammer and stutter and seem confused, well, you’re going to be confused, too.

Be a commanding presence, be super confident and always work through your ideas completely before you present them to your coworkers and boss. You’re probably going to be asked to outline your idea anyway, so you might as well suck it up and get the hard work done now. It’s always better to stop procrastinating and get something over with, right? If you say something with 100 percent belief in yourself and total conviction, it will be impossible to shrug you off and move on to the next person.

2. Follow-up

Romance and work have a few things in common – and, of course, you could wind up falling in love with that person sitting next to you. But dating and your career both involve one pretty important thing: the need to follow-up. If two people go on a first date and have a totally awesome time but never tell each other the next day, then how can they ever be in a relationship? It’s basically the same when you suggest some ideas in a work meeting. You need to follow-up later that day, or by the next day the very latest, with whoever is making the big decisions – your boss or some super powerful employee. One benefit? They can’t ignore you if you get in their face (well, okay, not literally in their face – that might not work out so well, especially if you had a spicy lunch or some fast food).

3. Stick to Your Brand

Companies have brands – Nike is sporty and cool, Lululemon is all about facing your fears daily and getting super fit and healthy (and it’s also about yoga). You have a brand, too –What? you’re asking right now. You don’t have a brand, you’re just a person. Just a little old employee- But guess what? We all have a brand, even if we don’t realize it.

Your brand is who you are, what you believe in, and what you bring to the table when it comes to business. Maybe you’re artsy and soft-spoken which translates perfectly to the creative job you currently hold. Take that and suggest your ideas in an eloquent, well-planned and well-thought out manner. Your coworkers and manager will associate your ideas with you, so you might as well link your ideas to your brand. Never suggest something that people would think sounds totally nuts coming from you because they’ll never, ever get on board with it. You might as well give yourself the greatest chance of success. You want the people that populate your office to think that the ideas you bring make sense and are logical.

Just think about any famous person or well-known business or lifestyle personality. A good example is the TV showrunner and exec producer Shonda Rhimes. She’s best known for creating the super popular hospital drama/soap opera Grey’s Anatomy. Then she created the fun drama Scandal. She keeps creating new shows and they all feature strong female characters, which is her brand. She never strays from what people expect form her and yet she’s still moving forward with her career and impressing everyone.

4. Research Your Colleagues

Of course you need to do some (or a lot) of research on your ideas. You’re basically going to look like an idiot who knows absolutely nothing if you don’t present a well-researched idea. Or maybe you can totally relate since your boss is basically a moron and you want to do anything possible to sound smarter than them. Well, you can, and it’s easy. All you have to do is do some research on the people that you work with so you know what ideas they might be more receptive to. Maybe John over in the art department is a huge fan of vintage movie posters and you can appeal to him somehow by incorporating that into your pitch. Maybe Lisa in editorial is a closet novelist and she’ll totally go for an idea that makes the project at hand more creative. It’s always a good idea to know your audience and be aware of what they love and what they hate. It’s kind of like being a mind reader. And since that’s not exactly possible, this is the next best thing.

5. Speak up More Often

speak up

It’s hard to be taken seriously if you say one thing once a month and then are super silent the rest of the time. Sure, we’re all crazy busy and our personal lives and work lives are always insanely packed and overscheduled. And work can suck sometimes and be stressful, and we get tired, and life can be hard. But cry to someone else and speak up as often as you can in meetings. This will make your boss and the people you work with realize that you’re not about to go down without a fight. Once you talk more, they will expect you to offer up ideas, and the process will go much more smoothly.

6. Ask Why you're Being Ignored

If you’ve tried all this and you are still being hopelessly ignored, you don’t have to crawl into a corner (or hide out in the bathroom all day and sob). You can fix your situation by asking your boss point-blank why your ideas aren’t being approved and accepted. Ask what you can do is to ensure that you’re going to be successful next time. If you don’t ask, you won’t know, right? They’ll definitely be thrilled that you took the time to ask what you’re doing wrong and that you’re willing to work hard, try again, and do a better job. No one can complain about that.

Follow this how to guide and we are sure that your ideas will never be ignored again. You will be heard over at meetings and people will be amazed by your creative ideas.

Do you have any secrets for pitching ideas to your boss? Share with us in the comment section below.