Reading time ( words)
I’ve always wondered why some great ideas succeed while others fail. Fortunately, I had the opportunity to be both a student of Dr. John Daly and to read his book on advocacy. I highly recommend checking out his YouTube videos as well. He’s an energetic and entertaining speaker.
Advocacy: Championing Ideas and Influencing Others helps you understand the whys and provides concrete techniques to elevate your ability to sell ideas. Change and change implementation require more than just a good idea; they also require advocacy—the ability to sell to the people who make decisions in organizations. The most successful people are those who have learned how to advocate their ideas to gain interest, support, and funding from decision-makers.
At some point in their career, everyone must perform the role of a “salesperson.” To sell something, people must be able to:
- Clearly communicate their ideas
- Understand how their “brands” shape opinions
- Build partnerships and alliances with subordinates, peers, and managers
- “Pre-sell” their ideas
Advocacy outlines four key steps in the persuasion process.
- Communicate the need to change (pain).
- Explain “why change now?” Establish urgency. Are times tough? Emphasize saving money or taking a bigger risk to bet on the future. Are times good? Emphasize making even more money and don’t propose radical changes to something that’s working.
- Communicate “what’s in it for them” (WIIFT). WIIFT includes appealing to how the change can improve reputation, finances, efficiency, status, relationships, productivity, safety, security, and appearance. Take advantage of the “fear of missing out” (FOMO). Regret for a missed opportunity is a powerful driver of change.
- Tell a good, credible story. Humans are natural storytellers.
Once you’ve used these steps and your persuasion is successful, follow up with:
- Tell: Explain the concept
- Show: Demonstrate it
- Do: Apply it
- Respond: Reinforce and redirect
Successfully transforming ideas into practice requires a combination of good ideas, clear needs, and effective influence. Advocacy explains how to do this in a fun, informative way. The book is available on Amazon, and he uses of the ideas from the book in his address to the McCombs Alumni Business Conference1.
“Advocacy: Influencing Others and Selling Ideas,” April 10, 2012, youtube.com.
Cheryl Tulkoff is senior director of corporate quality for National Instruments, and member of the SMTA Global Board of Directors.
This article originally appeared in the April 2022 issue of PCB007 Magazine.