How do You Start a Conversation with a CEO?

One of the things that can befuddle managers, even experienced ones, is how to start a conversation with a CEO.

When it comes to talking with someone who has authority over you, be it your boss’s boss or the CEO, even small conversation becomes relative.

Anything involving a CEO can have a significant impact. Conversation with a boss can be fraught with peril but it can also be an excellent opportunity.

Peril comes due to the fear of saying the wrong thing; opportunity arises because one can find a new dimension of himself to others.

CEOs and top business executives a bit differently. They have the ability to read situations more quickly, get to the meanings behind the message, and can decipher numbers and remarkably recall information.

So when you have a meeting in the coming week with your CEO, you will need to understand how to be seen and heard by the senior-level manager most effectively. You are about to join your new job or this is the first time you are going to meet your boss but, you are confused how do you start a conversation with a CEO? With some preparation, you can increase the odds of success.

You need to actually plan what you will say to the senior manager. It works excellently mainly when you know that the CEO is coming to meet with you and you will have the opportunity to talk to him at the all-employee gathering.

Start with these easy tips for communicating with executives so you can be prepared for that higher-level interaction.

Be Yourself

How do you start a conversation with a CEO? This is the second step, the first time when you are meeting with your boss or you are introduced to the senior leader; make eye contact as you shake hands. Smile and act relaxed. If you are joining the company, you can ask questions about what’s going on in the organization. If you are already working, you can talk about what you are working on. Here, you have a chance to use your message, try to be brief and to the point.

Understand their Broad View

Before you start talking, understanding your audience is the first step to make any conversation meaningful. A CEO sees the whole organization from top to bottom at a single point. So when you want to start your conversation with him, you must be aware of how your subject of conversations can fit into their broad view.

Stay on Your Point

CEOs and other senior-level managers know how to quickly get involved in an agenda item, discuss it and on-point questions to evaluate it.

Sometimes, they may not require all the background data you have prepared. In case, they get any doubt, they will ask. On that note, anticipate the questions they might ask and make responses accordingly. One of the biggest mistakes people make here and fail to answer questions adequately.

If you are not sure what they want, it’s better to ask clarifying questions. This way, you will not be wasting your time in providing the wrong information.

Keep Reading the Situation, also

Keeps your conversation going if your boss is interested; if you are not, thank him for his time and move on, even when you could not get the opportunity to use your key messages?

Sometimes, your sense of decorum is more important than what you say. Presenting your views and keeping talking when no are interested marks you as lacking in self-awareness.

Such preparation works well when you know in advance you may meet your boss or any senior executive, but what about accidental encounters, say in the lift, at the airport or in a social gathering. Luckily what works for prepared encounters works for impromptu ones as well. Just assume that someday soon you will go to meet with your CEO and prepare for it as you would for a more predictable encounter. And that preparation will be helpful in other contexts also like during team meetings or conversations with clients.

That’s why you should keep practicing it. It will give you confidence that you have what it takes to have a clear and coherent conversation with senior-level people.

C-level communication can be difficult to master, but the effort is worth it. By taking the time to understand these unique concepts and following properly, you are well prepared to start a conversation with a CEO. Keep it in mind always, the more prepared you are the more confident you will be. And never forget that conversation with a CEO even small can have a significant impact on your career.

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