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Shine Substance: How to speak with senior executives

Meeting with senior leaders/executives can be intimidating. Trust us, we've been there! The nerves can kick-in, the mental gymnastics of trying to figure out what to talk about and the worry about how you'll be received; the list can be endless.

In our careers, we have seen that when individuals meet with senior leaders, they often defer so much to the senior leader that they can create an impression of being passive without a mind of their own. We've also seen people swing the other way and be so rigid that they aren't comfortable in their own skin. We don't want either of these things for you!

Take into consideration our top Shine tips in meeting with senior leaders/executives:

1) Have a point of view, always: Mistake number 1 typically occurs when individuals enter meetings with executives and come in with a mindset that their point of view is less relevant. Remember your view point is absolutely relevant and its your job to share it. More often than not, lower ranking individuals have a different and unique pulse on a variety of topics (ie., think customer experience, employee dynamics) that are incredibly value to senior executives. Sharing your point of view (without being married to it) is the value and role you play in your organization! As you prepare for that meeting, decide on the topic you are going to discuss and share your point of view.

2) Start with your headline: Senior leaders and executives absorb a lot of information every single day. This is why leading with the point you're making and then the context is important. When you lead with context first, you run the risk of losing that senior leader, which ultimately may limit your impact. This isn't to say that context isn't important because it is! Sharing your thought process in a concise way gives a lens into how you think about important topics. The message here is don't lead with it first.

3) Seek their expertise on a specific topic: In prepping to meet with senior leaders, a big focal point is to share your point of view and your thinking process. But let's not forget this is a great opportunity to seek their expertise; after all, they're likely a senior leader for a reason. Be prepared to ask for their guidance on the specific topic you're sharing.

We would love to hear from you! How do you feel when you have to meet with senior leaders? What tips do you have for how to best engage with senior leaders?

Shine On,

Jaclyn & Laura


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