You’ve got a great idea and many reasons that it is, hands down, the best move for your hospital. You walk into the meeting room feeling confident that everyone will see the wisdom in your plan and agree it’s the right course of action. Right?

Unfortunately, a strong case isn’t always a winning case. Here’s why—and what you can do to be more effective at these meeting matchups.

Tailor Your Approach

The challenge is that everyone thinks a little differently and comes to meetings with a divergent agenda. To get them all on board, you might need to customize your approach.

For example, let’s say you’re in a room full of executives. You need to convince the CEO that your idea supports the company’s vision and mission. The CFO will want to know what it means for the bottom line. The COO might want to hear a step-by-step plan for executing your idea.

Know Your Audience

When you understand what drives individuals, you have a better chance of getting them on your side. Here are just a few personality types you might be challenged to win over:

The numbers people: These are analytical, logical, data-driven thinkers. They don’t really place a lot of stock in your passion or idealism. They want statistics, facts and figures. Show them how your idea will save the company money or better utilize resources.

The skeptics: There will be hard-nosed people in the room—either because that’s just their basic personality or because they’re testing your confidence. They’re not going to take your word for it, so with these individuals you must show, not tell. Provide concrete examples, testimonials and best practices that have worked well for other companies.

The change agents: These are the innovators. They enjoy thinking of alternatives, and they’re more open to change than most people. Try tapping into their creative side by helping them envision how your idea will promote innovation and transformation.

The conventional thinkers: These people don’t want new. They want improvement. Rather than overhauling the system, they prefer to take what worked in the past and make it better. Demonstrate respect to that way of thinking by saying, “Here’s what is working, and here’s how my idea could improve a few things.” Also, understand that these people are not risk-takers, so give them facts that prove your idea will work.

The highly competitive: These people want to exceed expectations. They’re highly motivated to win and want to impress customers or stakeholders. They like things done their way and seek recognition and visibility. Reinforce how your idea will result in a win-win for everyone—especially them.

Sell Your Idea

You stand a far greater chance of soliciting consensus in your next meeting when you walk in feeling prepared, confident and supported. Here are some ways to become a master at selling your ideas:

Know the lay of the land. Before you pitch your idea, gather as much information as possible about the people whose support you need. That way, you can anticipate their reactions and tailor your approach to meet their various agendas.

Don’t go it alone. Don’t wait until the big meeting to unveil your idea. Have informal conversations with influencers in the days or weeks beforehand. When you know their perspectives ahead of time, you can ask them to speak up in the meeting or even quote them (e.g., “In my conversation with John, he brought up a good point … ”).

Consult the critics. If you know certain people will be likely to disagree with your idea, have informal conversations with them, too. This gives you the opportunity to hear their objections so that you can be prepared to address them during the meeting.

Paint a picture. Describe for your audience what the future will look like if your plan is implemented. Will your idea give the hospital a competitive edge? Decrease costs? Increase visibility? Streamline processes? Be clear about the payoff so that others will take ownership and accountability for seeing it through.

Win their hearts and minds. Most people operate from both logic and emotion. So to make a compelling case, you want to hit on both:

  • Emotion: Deliver your stories, metaphors and visuals with passion. Emphasize potential personal benefits for your listeners, such as recognition and carving out their own legacy.
  • Logic: Provide supporting data, statistics, case studies, testimonials and similar ideas that are working for other companies.

Be transparent. Everyone knows change initiatives usually have some inherent risks. So be upfront about them. When you fail to address risks, you lose credibility—and the opportunity to engage everyone in a discussion about how to minimize potential fallout.

Don’t Take It Personally

Finally, prepare yourself for the fact that you might not convince everyone. See yourself as an objective mediator with the purpose of reaching a mutually satisfying result. Even if you’ve done your homework, some people in the meeting could still disagree with you. It doesn’t mean they don’t have good intentions or don’t respect you. Conflict or disagreement is natural and can be mutually healthy when managed with maturity. One challenging meeting today can teach you important lessons for running a successful meeting tomorrow.

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Roz Usheroff

Roz Usheroff is a leadership, image and branding specialist, entertaining and educating diverse audiences across continents with her insights and vision on what it takes to achieve leadership and corporate success. Roz leads her clients to maximize on their talents, attract followers and distinguish themselves in their industry. More Articles by This Author »