6. Start with a problem statement. First, state the problem: "I've noticed there's an issue with X." Advises Mattson, "Keep it short and concise. Then suggest two or three alternative solutions and see how people respond." The end result will almost always be "some hybrid of what you've said it should be," he adds. "People love to edit what you say, so give them something to work on."
7. Point to an impartial authority. Make your case, where possible, by mentioning a survey or article by some third party who has no skin in the game. "Getting backup for your position from a trusted source gives you extra credibility," Mattson says.
8. Give praise where it's due. Most people are starved for praise and recognition, Mattson notes, and making it a habit to notice a task well done will make people more likely to listen to you when it's your turn. "You have to be sincere, of course," he adds. "But most people get so little appreciation for what they do that the simple act of noticing can make them more likely to listen to you."
9. Take a personal interest. Mattson keeps what he calls a "fuzzy file" on people he encounters regularly, so that "if I see an article somewhere about a new kind of ski, I know to send it along to someone I know is a ski buff, for instance," he says. "Showing some interest in who people are outside of the office makes a powerful impression."
10. Repeat steps No. 1 through 9 regularly. "If you only do these little things once a year leading up to evaluation time, it'll be really hard, you'll take everything too personally, and you'll hate it," Mattson points out. "You need to get in the habit of doing them all through the year, a little bit at a time, but all the time."
Notice, if you will, that none of these requires being pushy, arrogant, or otherwise jerky -- quite the opposite, in fact -- but selling oneself does call for "reinforcement," Mattson says, "which can only come with time."
Talkback: If you've succeeded at selling your ideas or yourself in your organization, what approach has worked best for you (or hasn't)? Leave a comment below.