Communicating More Effectively With C-suite Executives and Higher-Ups
In this lesson I teach you how you could be communicating more effectively with C-suite Executives and higher-ups. Do you tense up and get nervous when talking to your manager, boss or supervisor? Is the inability to communicate with them affecting your work, career, and chance of getting ahead? In professional settings, your career success is directly impacted by your communication skills. If you communicate in an effective manner, you're guaranteed to have much better business outcomes. For this reason, I’m sharing effective communication strategies to use when speaking with management or a c suite executive.
Many people might feel intimidation or even trepidation when interfacing with a C suite executive. While this might seem to be a completely rational reaction, is it really going to help you communicate better with the higher-ups? Probably not. So the very first step before all else, is to eliminate intimation and trepidation from your emotional vocabulary.
Now that you’re in this headspace I want you to try and implement the following:
Be So Good They Can’t Ignore You
Cal Newport, professor of computer science at Georgetown University wrote a book called “So Good They Can’t Ignore You” where he advocates cultivating skills that will position yourself as a qualified and credible expert, being really good at what you do. So not only walk the walk but talk the talk. Meaning, truly become so good they can’t ignore you, and when you head into a conversation with a c-suite exec remind yourself of this.
Solve a Problem for Them (they didn’t know they had)
This can be a problem they are aware of or one they didn’t even know they had. For the latter, this will require you to be highly observant. For instance, you notice that in a meeting your supervisor appeared frazzled by the lack of social engagement on the company’s social platforms. You go to the drawing board and brainstorm to come up with a new social campaign to boost customer engagement. In a meeting you propose the campaign and voila you fill a void!
Make Yourself Indispensable (show them your value)
For strategy three you want to make yourself indispensable. And if you’re not sure how yet, then focus on adding value. When you focus on value add, you’re much less focused on yourself. And when you’re less focused on yourself, you’re not as stressed or nervous when talking to them. Anytime you interface with the C suite executive, add value in all the ways you know how. Help them out without expecting anything in return. Fill a void without being told to. Solve a problem they don’t know they have. Propose new ideas. Come up with problems to find their solutions. In any way you can, hold yourself to high standards and work to go that extra mile. Under promise and overdeliver.
Exude Unbreakable Unshakable Confidence
Do this to the point where someone identifies you as the most confident person in the room. Just a reminder though, confidence doesn’t mean cocky. In fact, the most confident people I know are also the most humble. Being confident stems from believing you’re confident. And to believe you’re confident you need to feel confident. So assume a power pose like Amy Cuddy talks about in her book and TedTalk so that you can rewire your neuropathways to feel that confidence and exude it. Showing that confidence will not only reflect well on you to them, but it will also make the exchange with the C suite executive all the more pleasant.
Create Strong Rapport
Make it an aim of yours to establish strong rapport with them. Try to get on the inside of their inner circle, if you will. Show a genuine interest in what they’re interested in. And you don’t necessarily have to be interested in the same activities, hobbies, or professional interests as they but you can be interested in how they talk about those things. And as they talk about what interests them, connect dots. This will enable you to ask follow up questions and send follow up emails to continue the conversation. You want to keep the conversation going and flowing. And that doesn’t all have to happen in a single meeting, but it’s actually better to cultivate this rapport over time because it’ll be stronger this way. Aim for weekly or monthly check-ins. This could be over email or over coffee, depending on their leadership style and preference.
So we discussed 5 strategies for communicating more effectively with C Suite Executives and Higher-Ups. Be so good they can’t ignore you, solve a problem for them perhaps one they didn't even know they had, make yourself indispensable by adding as much value as you can, exude unbreakable confidence, and aim to create strong rapport with weekly or monthly check-ins.
When you implement these 5 strategies in concert, you’ll notice less pressure to perform or be your version of “perfect” employee. It’s much more about how you can be a positive force in this person’s professional life and at the company. By focusing on creating value, you’ll make it less about you. And when it’s less about us we’re more confident, way less nervous, and going after bigger better goals.
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