[This post is part of a series on principles to create ideas people want to help you with and creating a helpful, supportive community around you. If you don’t see a Table of Contents to the left, click here to view that series, where you’ll get more value than reading just this post.]
You wouldn’t believe how much access you have to people, both the number of people and how much each one will listen to and help you.
This principle surprises and helps people more than the other three. They’re used to asking people for their opinions on their ideas, followed by getting a judgment, followed by the end of a conversation, followed by them having to guess at what to do about it and how to find the time to. When you ask for a judgment, you’ll get one. Most pitches are designed to get one.
Most ideas start full of holes. If you judge them for what they are then, most people will judge them poor. Even after you develop them yourself, since you have limited perspective of the product, your customers, your competition, suppliers, etc, they’ll still look poor. Sadly, most people don’t share them then to save themselves the obvious judgment, but also hold themselves back from developing the idea further. They think you have to be a genius to get past this stage.
How to involve someone instead of getting judged
Changing your pitch from asking what they think of it to how they would improve it, or what advice they could give, or using feedforward, involves them.
Over and over, people who switch are surprised by how approachable and accepting people become to you sharing your idea, then how helpful they are in giving advice, then how much they feel vested in your success. Keep up this perspective and they’ll keep helping you.
Then your idea improves and you build a community of helpful and supportive people. At your option you could make some of them team mates.
In my exercises, I advise people to start the conversation with this nearly always successful script
Hi, I’m working project for a course. I’m developing an idea in your field. It’s early stage, but since you’re an expert in the field, I wonder if you’d mind hearing about it and giving me advice.
Nearly everyone says yes. No one has told me the other person reacted negatively.
The conversation lasts as long or short as you, the leader in the interaction, let it. You can ask as many people as you like, and your idea will improve in proportion to how many people you involve. If you get advice you don’t like or disagree with, you don’t have to act on it.
Then they’ll start calling you a genius for the quality of idea. You’ll know you just combined others’ advice. Improving ideas is more a matter of skill and time than innate genius. That myth comes from what sells stories in the media. As we know from the other three principles, success here comes from skills you can learn, not innate traits.
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