Most people won’t pitch a unique or really interesting idea to others because they are afraid of looking foolish in the eyes of the other person. The more people in the room or on the call who are likely hear (and judge) the idea, the less chance there is of this risk-adverse person sharing their insights — no matter how good the idea may actually be.
Some will chalk it up to “fear of public speaking”, but I would wager that even if the person were allowed to submit their idea in writing — but they had to sign their name, and when the idea was read aloud to the group their name would also be read as the originator of the idea — they still wouldn’t share their idea.
Sharing your ideas with a group of people is always a little scary, because there is always a chance someone will think your idea is silly and say something to make you feel foolish.
If you’re one of the people who is hesitant to share an idea with others because you fear the the risk of appearing foolish, try the techniques below.
- Before you share the idea, try prefacing it with a phrase like “This may sound a little crazy but have your tried…” or “You might think I’m foolish for suggesting this, but I think it would be more foolish if we didn’t consider…” or “This might seem like it’s out of left field, but what if we…”
- You could also use a “sacrificial idea” to lob into the discussion that you already KNOW is totally crazy and out there to make your “real” idea seem mundane by comparison. Make the first idea ridiculous and laugh-out-loud silly, so that immediately afterward when you bring up the idea that you really wanted to pitch it will seem a little more reserved and reigned in.
Looking foolish should never be a reason to keep your ideas to yourself.