You’re invited to the C-suite for the first time to participate in a strategy session with five or six executives who outrank you on the organizational chart.
You’re nervous. You talk in circles when you’re finally called upon. You seem oblivious to how often you’re repeating yourself. And then it gets worse.
You try to dominate the conversation. You fear if you give up the proverbial microphone you might not be called on again. So, you decide to shoot your wad. Instead, you end up shooting yourself in the foot.
No one is listening to you.
No one is advancing your ideas.
What can you do to get your train of thought back on track?
First: Remember why you are there.
You’re an expert in a certain area of the company that should be factored into the decision making and strategic direction.
Your reputation precedes you. There is no need for showboating, grandstanding or pontificating no matter how intimidated you feel in breathing the rarified atmosphere of the C-suite opulence.
Second: Preparation is Key
Before your meeting, write down three key points on how your department currently contributes to the bottom line. Then distill each of those points in a single declarative sentence with fewer than 20 words.
Now take each of those points and anticipate how current and expected market trends might impact those three key points in 2-4 years. Then distill each of those points into a single declarative sentence with fewer than 20 words.
Now read those 6 key sentences. Say them over and over and over again until they automatically roll of your tongue on your command. (Do this in your car and people will think you are jamming along with your favorite song.)
Organize those key thoughts in your mind: 3 affecting us today and 3 to consider that might affect us 2-4 years into the future.
Use the LINK model to keep your
train of thought on track.
for Linking your point to a previous point in particular or the purpose of the meeting in general. Demonstrate clearly that you did hear and understand that previous point of view. Do not judge it. Simply just state it.
for Investing in that point of view (without fully endorsing it). Acknowledge it and then insert your idea for their consideration.
for Notion (a.k.a. your opinion, view or belief). Call upon two of the your previously prepared 6 sentences. Then demonstrate your key point in today’s market conditions and then project that same point 2-4 years into the future.
for Knowledge. Then back up your notion by noting your personal experience/expertise that informs your point of view.
Then summarize your key point and invite a discussion on how together we might build on this notion.
Keep it short and on point. Let your ideas speak for you.
Think with intent.
Speak with content.
Engage others within the context.
And collaborate with others in a discussion on strategy for the entire organization not a stump speech per se on tactics to reinforce your department’s impact on the bottom line.
It’s not about you.
It’s all about them. It’s all about making a LINK to others that keeps your train of thought on track and earns respect from your audience to listen clearly and factor your thinking into their decision making.
To help you more readily prepare for LINK-ing your ideas to persuade others consider purchasing a copy of SPEAKING Like a Leader. The 298-page book now available on Amazon.com.
SPEAKING Like a Leader is part of the Leadership Mints Series that also includes a book on creativity —THINKING Like a Leader , a 294-page book filled with 77 Leadership Mints and a 300-page book on empathy filled with 77 more Leadership Mints–LOVING Like a Leader.
All three books in The Leadership Mints Series are designed for busy leaders seeking to refresh their feeling for leading in 5-minutes or less — the average reading of a Leadership Mint.
What ‘s a Leadership Mint?
Consumed like a breath mint — quick and on-the-go — a Leadership Mint is a short story that energizes leadership behaviors and personalizes leadership principles so they are more easily remembered, more readily acted upon and more fully applied.