The Magic of Getting People to Accept Your Ideas

In this article you will learn the secret behind presenting your ideas in a way that makes people want to implement them.

Have you ever had a great idea that you believed would make a real difference? Oh …if only people would listen to you.

How do you get others to recognize your idea’s brilliance and even act upon it?

There are three areas of influence to consider when sharing your ideas: emotions, consequences, and strategy.

Appeal to their emotion first.

While marketers and advertisers worth their salt know this all too well, the role of emotion in business and life is still barely even a conversation in our society. For this reason, I believe your effectiveness in business and relationship is crippled.

You need to make emotion a bigger part of your (inner) conversation and keep it top of mind.

How People Make Decisions

The psychology behind how you make decisions points to this understanding: over 90% of your decisions are made emotionally …and then you engage your logic to justify these decisions. While I’m sure you prefer to think you’re making important decisions in a purely clear and rational way, you’re not – especially if you haven’t trained yourself to notice your subtle emotions.

In neuroscience, it is being shown that you cannot effectively make decisions without the meaning and motivation being provided by your emotions. The act of making a decision is a coordinated response of pulling up a memory, a value system, and the associated emotions and then using this data in the calculation for what to do next.

So, how can you use this basic understanding to help get your ideas across?

You keep emotion as your primary focus when communicating.

Emotions and Influence

While I could dedicate a giant tome on this subject alone, I’ll be as brief as possible.

Emotions are highly influential upon your perception. They are filters through which you interpret the world around you. For example, what you notice when you’re happy is different than what you notice when you are angry. Whatever mood (emotion) you’re in causes you to filter your experience in a way that feeds your mood – you tend to see more of the same.

You know this intuitively (at an emotional level) and that’s why your natural instinct for sharing your idea will be to catch your boss or colleague when they’re in a good mood.

But what do you do when you don’t have time to wait and you have to share your idea when they’re not in a good mood?

You will have to ‘prime the pump’. You must improve their emotional state before offering your idea.


That depends upon your personality and the nature of your relationship with the person you have in mind. However, the principle being offered in any scenario is the same:

A bad mood is a type of emotional pain.

Your focus is to help take the pain away… or at least some of it. Bring their mood up a notch.

Elevate their emotion.


Show concern. Show you care. Ask them how their day is going and if there is something in particular that they’re concerned about. Maybe you could help?

It could be work-related or trouble at home or …anything. Whether they are able to speak about it or not, their recognition of your genuine concern for them will make them feel less alone, more cared about, and therefore they’ll feel just a little bit better.

Their brain now associates the thought of ‘you’ with ‘feeling better’.

Step 1 is complete.

Introduce Your Idea

The next step deals with consequences.

If your idea is truly a good one, implementing it will save time or money or at least avoid some sort of pain – pain that will occur if the idea isn’t implemented. These are the consequences of inaction.

This is your lead. This is where you begin.

Once the person you’re looking to share your idea with is feeling a little better (because of you), you introduce your idea in a way that demonstrates it’s ability to avoid some potential pain that you are currently headed toward. Your idea is a contrast to the painful consequences of doing nothing.

“John, I want to share an idea with you that can keep us from losing money on this project.”

(This is a spin-off from the rule of major media: “If it bleeds, it leads.”)

The idea of pain gets the brain’s attention. After all, its primary job is to keep the body alive. The brain has a natural negative bias because it must consistently be on the lookout for threats. It pays more attention to potential pain than potential pleasure.

When you say “losing money”, it gets John’s attention.

You are introducing your idea in a way that John’s brain will notice it – by getting him to picture the pain (losing money) that your idea will help him avoid.

(This is the “Don’t think of a pink elephant” process at play.)

Now that you have primed his emotion, attracted his attention, and stimulated his motivation to avoid future pain, it’s time for logic. This is where your strategy comes in.

Time for Strategy

Again if your idea really is a good one, it will be well thought out and you will know exactly how to implement your idea – you’ll have a strategy.

A good strategy is a specific course of action that demonstrates how to get from where you are to where you want to be. You don’t just offer up your idea as a desirable destination, you offer up a map and show them the pathway there.


Because it offers a feeling of certainty.

And here we are …back at emotion again.

We make decisions on things we feel certain about.

At this point, if you’ve done your job well, your idea will likely be accepted.

As a way of strengthening the appeal of your idea at this point, you might offer a brief description (cast a vision) of how things will be better than they are now as a result of acting upon your idea.

I say brief because you don’t want to oversell your idea here.

Speaking too much about the benefits may cause John to infer that you are trying too hard (perhaps in an effort to sell yourself on the idea) and will feel that you lack confidence. You’ll be infusing the conversation with a feeling of doubt and thereby undermining your efforts.

When you are confident about an idea, you naturally behave as though the benefits are obvious and so they need little mention. Remember, less is more.


Here’s the recipe once again:

1) Focus on the emotional state of the person
2) Elevate their emotional state by genuinely caring
3) Introduce your idea as a way of avoiding future pain (consequences of inaction)
4) Offer a clear strategy (map) for how to get to the new place your idea will take them
5) Briefly describe a benefit or two of reaching that destination

While there are no guarantees in life due to the innumerable variables at play in any given moment, following the recipe above will certainly improve your odds at being heard and getting your ideas accepted.

Now go for it!



© 2014 Trent Janisch –


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