February NMRT Discussion Summary: “Pitching Ideas to Your Supervisor”

By Elayna Turner

This discussion covered suggestions and experiences from participants for effectively pitching an idea to a supervisor. This discussion sought to get a variety of people from different library backgrounds to contribute. For those that are new to the profession, a discussion like this is a good place to start to explore the idea of pitching an idea that makes a change to their institution.

Some of the suggestions given included:

  • Take full responsibility for implementing the idea.
  • Look to pitch ideas that are new, fresh, or haven’t been tried before.
  • Make sure your idea is relevant to the mission of your institution.
  • Research your idea well, anticipate objections, and address possible objections in your pitch.
  • Know your audience and fine tune your presentation to appeal to them.
  • Get “buy-in” from coworkers and consider the question of “what’s in it for them?” when making a pitch.
  • Make sure your idea fills some sort of need.

One of the participants included a link to a presentation they had done on Millenials: Getting People to Buy What the Library is Pitching. This provided a unique viewpoint from the mindset of a younger generation and their ideas on generating successful outcomes for idea pitching.

All of the suggestions given were excellent things to consider when pitching ideas. Taking responsibility, considering relevancy, researching, and understanding your audience are all essential considerations to the idea pitching process.

Many of the participants were able to pitch some great ideas and make a difference in their institutions. Some of the successfully pitched ideas mentioned were:

  • De-Stress Fest during college finals
  • Creating an Instagram for the library
  • Departmental restructuring
  • Changing material discarding procedure

The departmental restructuring was the most intricate and bold of all of the examples cited, but it was a real testament to the power of pitching an idea well. A change like that is not something that is easily made and it requires significant buy-in from all levels of an organization.

The other examples presented of pitched ideas were seemingly small in comparison, but highlight that ideas of any level, great or small, need to be pitched well to become realized and implemented.

Overall, most of the people who participated and offered suggestions or cited experiences identified a need that their library had or found a way to tie it to the mission of their institution. These two things are certainly the basis for successfully pitching any idea.


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