By | Shital Kakkar Mehra | Executive Presence Coach for CEOs I Business Communication Expert I Best-selling Author I Co-Founder Katalyst, NGO
Regardless of the nature of a business, to establish oneself as a market leader or a subject matter expert, you will have to communicate with the ‘C-suite’ leaders or CXOs. Usually, CXOs are high performers who’re driven by results, are extremely focused and willing to invest time in activities that will help them achieve their goals. A few pointers will help in your interactions:
1.As CXOs are difficult to reach, request for a meeting via a formal introduction from a common business partner or a ‘connector’ works best as it establishes trust much faster.
2. While the word homework brings back unpleasant memories of school days, its worth investing time in doing your homework before your meeting with CXOs. Research on their comments in media / social media, any forums / committees they are spearheading, their education, companies they have worked for in the past, personal interests and current work profile.
3. First impressions matter! Whether for an in-person meeting or on a screen, build your personal brand by dressing appropriately, using positive body language signals, addressing formally and displaying the highest level of professionalism.
4. Small talk leads to big talk. Start the meeting with small talk, transition smoothly to business talk and end smoothly by summarising/ small talk. Connect the dots on issues of common interest and display good listening skills when they speak, which will help you pick up points for furthering the conversation, leading to higher engagement levels.
5. Most CXOs have astute minds and are looking for people who can spar with them intellectually. Prepare the data points for discussions which will go back and forth on how your product / service will address their business problem. Be wiling to discuss your product/ service/ idea at both micro and macro levels, as CXOs are adept at moving from one to the other smoothly.
6. As their time is their most precious commodity, present data in an easy to read format , keeping your presentation and conversation both crisp and concise. While on one hand CXOs dislike power points, on the other hand they themselves speak in bullet points! Its best you leave the slides behind; instead talk to them about potential solutions to the business problem.
7. Update their knowledge resources: CXO’s are constantly scouting for new ideas, updates on technology, cutting-edge solutions and industry information. Also, they’re constantly looking for products / services which can address their biggest challenges i.e. profitability, employee retention and creating wealth for their stakeholders.
8. Follow-up: Stay in touch after the meeting by occasionally sending information and updates, giving you an edge over your competitors. Also, this ensures that when it’s time for decision-making, your name will enjoy the highest recall in the CXO’s mind.