managing up

So, you’ve done your homework and come up with a stellar social media campaign or researched a promising new SEO tactic, and you’re ready to pitch it to your boss. You even bought new shoes and had your hair straightened. You’re prepared.

But your boss is, let’s say, a bit out of date. Perhaps she isn’t too fond of “the Facebook.” Maybe she insists that her Palm Pilot has everything she needs. Maybe she even (gasp!) keeps a Rolodex on her desk.

Never fear! We’ve got five simple tips you can use to break through her Aqua Net fog and get her to see the value in your 21st-century ideas.

Use Metaphors
When you need to make someone understand something they aren’t familiar with, a metaphor is a great way to make it relatable. For someone who is a bit out of date, explain modern PR terms to them using their 1990 equivalents:

  • Facebook Like = Public endorsement
  • Retweet = Personal recommendation
  • Going Viral = Gossip on the grapevine

Speak in Numbers
One thing bosses from all eras can agree on is that numbers talk. Understand your boss’ bottom line, and speak to it. If her aim is to raise profits or reduce expenses, have stats on-hand to explain exactly how your plan will do that. It’s easy for someone to turn up her nose at an idea that she doesn’t like or doesn’t understand, but it’s nearly impossible to argue with numbers

Use Real-Life Examples
Another argument that’s difficult to ignore is one that uses case studies. Look for successful campaigns that have similar goals and tactics to yours. Compile all of the information in an easy-to-follow PowerPoint presentation (no animated graphics, sounds or abrasive colors) with key ideas and images to illustrate your points. It’s also a good idea to print out the presentation for your boss. Choose a format with two or three slides to a page and leave room for notes on the side.

Talk it Out
Too many unexplained acronyms and terms might send your boss running for the hills. Be careful not to fire off phrases like “SEO,” “CPC” and “Blog Optimization” without explaining what they mean. If you run through your presentation, leaving a trail of modern marketing catch phrases behind you, you might as well be speaking in code. Make sure your boss can follow you easily and not fall behind.

Anticipate Any Questions
The best way to do this? Find a couple of friends (or even your parents’ friends) who also can’t stand “the Facebook” and pitch your idea to them. Buy ‘em a cup of coffee in exchange for listening to your spiel, and see what kinds of questions they have. Then pre-plan some easy-to-understand answers. You’ll be ahead of the game and more than prepared to speak with your boss.