Six Ways To Communicate With The C-Suite, Part 2
I used to work for a company president who was sophisticated, polished and connected. He had high expectations and expected excellence from his team. Whenever I needed his input or approval, it was a formal process. I would contact his assistant to request time on his calendar. At the appointed time I would wait until the assistant summoned me to his office. Once inside, I was expected to get straight to the point and I always practiced any anticipated questions prior to our meeting.
While it might sound stressful, these meetings were always insightful and presented growing opportunities for me. And as a result, I had a great relationship with this leader who shaped who I am today.
To interact most effectively with C-suite leaders takes a different level of communication style and preparedness. Yesterday, Promotional Consultant Today shared three tips for communicating with senior level executives. Today, we'll share three more from Lea McLeod, career consultant, speaker and author of The Resume Coloring Book.
1. If there's a flaw in your logic, numbers or content, they will find It. When you're working with numbers—and you will always be working with numbers when executives are involved—know your data and logic inside and out. Prepare and double-check your work. If there is an error, they will point it out quickly. Also, have someone with content expertise review and test your content ahead of time. Don't risk destroying your credibility with bad numbers, or worse, guessing. If you aren't sure about a number or an answer to a question, say you'll look into it and return to the topic later.
2. Executives know when you're adding fluff. If you think about everything that executives are responsible for (like running an entire company), you can imagine they have finely-honed sensors that allow them to work quickly and focus only on what's most important. But they can't possibly do that by letting others waste their time with nonsensical issues or jargon. Be straightforward, clear and concise.
3. They're impatient, and they may be abrupt—don't expect a group hug when you leave. If you're presenting something, don't expect flowery kudos and high fives when you're done. They'll be moving on to their next agenda item while you're gathering your stuff. This doesn't mean they hated your ideas, though. They are simply efficient. They have a lot going on and a lot of responsibilities. Your victory dance will come when you get to implement the proposal they've accepted.
Good leaders want their organizations to grow, and that means letting their people stretch and grow. Assume that your leaders want that for you. Connect with confidence, preparedness and respect their time and attention and watch your career flourish.
Source: Lea McLeod coaches people in their jobs during stressful situations: unfit employers, challenging colleagues and self-sabotaging that keeps you working too long. McLeod is the founder of the Job Success Lab and the author of The Resume Coloring Book. She also offers a complimentary web series, "21 Days to Peace at Work." Book one-on-one coaching sessions with McLeod on The Muse's Coach Connect.