5 keys to make the CEO act on your ideas

Having trouble getting heard by the top brass? Bolster your pitch with these essentials.

Last month I did a customized webinar on “How to Build Executive Presence” for about 70 managers at a client company. To prep the content for the session, we asked about a dozen C-suite executives and their direct reports to bullet-point their answers to the question, “How do you define executive presence?”

When I summarized their responses, the top three answers were:

I recently saw some of these behaviors in action when I coached a CEO and her extended leadership team through an issues-identification and problem-solving session related to growth barriers in their company. From my spot as coach and facilitator, I could see whose comments landed with the CEO and top leadership and whose did not. The people who nailed it exhibited the three characteristics of executive presence.

Specifically, here’s what they did to get the CEO to listen to them:

1. They knew what they wanted to say.

They had thought about what they wanted to say before they got to the meeting. The most effective people had a beginning, middle and end to their comments answering the questions “What?” and “So what?” and “Now what?”

2. They made it about the company and not about them.

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