Tip: Use informal language
Use familiar language. To get your own team or peers on board, you need to speak your geek. You probably already have common goals and a common language. The people closest to you organizationally may already understand why you’re making the recommendation, and some of them may have helped you craft it and already be on board. It’s okay to use the visual and verbal shorthand your team uses on a day-to-day basis. Acronyms, departmental verbiage, and complex charts are all okay, just as long as they are familiar to all involved.
Tip: Be Convincing
Be exhaustive in your research. Managers must be confident that recommendations are well-informed and defensible. If they’re going to take action on them, their reputations should not be on the line. They’re not going to risk taking a hit for a poorly constructed idea. You need to show that you’ve done your homework, and present your thinking clearly. Keep your recommendation crisp, but for your boss, attach a comprehensive appendix that includes your research and any other supporting evidence. If you do a good job, your boss may even sponsor your idea by having you present it to the executive team.
Tip: Get to the Point
Write brief, logical, rigorous recommendations. We’re all busy, but still, it’s hard to comprehend just how busy executives are. You must craft a recommendation for them with a tight structure that is brief and easily skimmable. If you are presenting to them and have been given 30 minutes, take 15 so they can ask questions. Be extremely clear, and prepare to be grilled. Also tailor the way you communicate to a style they prefer. They all have particular preferences. Your approach should match their communication style, not yours.
Different types of decision-makers have different needs in how they want to receive recommendations. To communicate effectively to them, it’s important to understand these preferences. Some people read every last word of a thick report, others may want brief summaries with the important bits flagged. Being able to adapt quickly and recognize the requirements of the decision-makers you are in front of will show them just how valuable you can be.