How many times have you thrown up your hands wondering why “they” just don’t get it? Despite what seems like sound logic to us, we all experience a lack of support for our ideas and proposals from time to time.

While failing to receive support for our recommendations and requests can be frustrating and demotivating, is it possible that we are presenting our proposals in a “foreign” language?

The language of influence for engineers is often different from the language of social workers, and the language of influence for account managers can be different from that of senior vice presidents.

I’m obviously referring to more than whether we all speak English or French or German or Danish. Too often, when crafting our proposals, we think in terms of our own biases, our own goals and our own metrics.

To be successful ourselves, we need to recognize what others need to be successful, and then frame our approach in ways that link their success to our success.

One way to do this is to learn the language of influence for those we seek to persuade. By acknowledging or validating what others need before laying out our own proposal often softens whatever resistance might naturally come our way.

When presenting to a management team or a finance executive, we might want to show how our proposal will lead to a specific return on investment, a cost savings or an increase in productivity.

Pretending that everyone shares the same passion we do for a particular issue can lead to our surprise when our ideas are rejected or sent back. Our challenge is to connect what we want and need to what our audience needs and wants.

The next time you prepare to win others over, consider speaking to one or more of the individuals who will be evaluating your proposal to check in and ensure your language of influence is working. If not, spend some time “translating” your language before you make the pitch for real.