"No idea is perfect and no idea is totally worthless," says Sharon Fountain, a Washington-area human resources consultant, interpersonal communications trainer and promoter of new ideas.
"Each idea has both positives and negatives. The job, of course, is to get to the point in analyzing a new idea where advantages outweigh the limitations."
Fountain, 37, whose corporate clients have included IBM and Westinghouse, teaches Montgomery College's course, "Ideas Into Action in Business." The nine-hour seminar is designed to help individuals learn to develop new ideas and to practice the communications skills necessary to overcome resistance to them.
"Once you have your good idea, you need something more," says Fountain, who describes her course on transforming ideas into action as a strategic amalgam of "communication skills, creative problem solving, assertiveness, transactional analysis, persistence and risk-taking."
"If making sense were all that's needed to sell good ideas, the world would be a much happier, more productive place," says Jesse S. Nirenberg, author of How to Sell Your Ideas (McGraw Hill, $15.95). "Unfortunately, there's too much unreasonable resistance to others' ideas, and too many communication barriers, to be able to persuade with logic alone.
"It takes special techniques to shepherd an idea through all the obstacles so that it comes alive in people's minds."
Nirenberg, a consulting industrial psychologist, maintains that people have a built-in resistance to new ideas, and in order to overcome it, you must develop a plan for persuasion based on four key elements:
*Never suggest an action without telling its end result.
When people disagree with you (and they will), explore the reasons for their objection.
Whenever you ask a question, say why you're asking.
When you assert something, say why you think it's so.
Observed Mark Twain (who is credited with inventing suspenders): "To find a new planet, to invent a new hinge, to find the way to make the lightning carry your messages, to be the first -- that is the idea."
Sharon Fountain's "Ideas Into Action In Business," 7 to 10 p.m. Nov. 8-29, Montgomery College, Bethesda Center, 7815 Woodmont Ave. Tuition, $50; fee $10. Pre-registration required. For more information: (301) 279-5241.