Communicating to Senior Leaders

May 19, 2019 Tips

Jennifer Maxson & Associates recently brought Alumni of our Speak Up & Be Effective™ – Momentum program together for a special session focused on Communicating to Senior Leaders. This group of Alumni came from different industries across Michigan and represented different functional areas. They are leading strategic initiatives throughout their organizations.

We asked the group to share some of the challenges they are facing when communicating to Senior Leaders, here is what they told us:

  • Striking the right balance of detail in the communication
  • Leaders may show up differently when meeting with them individually versus when they are with their peers
  • Being asked to present on a topic but receive no direction from the leader on the desired outcome of the communication
  • Understanding who is in the room and the individual expectations of your communication
  • Leaders may have a different point of view; they tend to be looking broadly across the organization or know information that has not been shared with others

All of these challenges provide opportunities to communicate with impact and build momentum behind our strategic initiatives. Here are a few tips that were shared in our session:

  1. Preparation is critical to your success: When you are invited to present to Senior Leaders take the time to ask key questions like, what is the desired outcome of this presentation, who will be in the room, what is important to each Leader, what questions/objections will they have about the topic, and how will you project confidence and credibility in the room. When crafting your presentation, tie your topic to the organization’s vision and strategies. Get to the point quickly and support it in the body of your communication. Find ways to engage others and create dialogue, this will help you understand your audience and provide opportunities to answer questions and overcome objections.

  2. Time is not on your side:
    Be ready to deliver your message in the allotted time, however many times meeting agendas are adjusted during the meeting. Have a plan on how you will deliver your message if the time is reduced. You will need to be flexible and that requires a plan before you arrive to your meeting.

  3. Be in the moment:
    If you have taken the time to prepare both the message and yourself, relax and be in the moment. Continue to slow down your mind by sustaining eye contact with individuals and using purposeful pauses. This allows you to think clearly about how you want to respond to a question or how to transition to your next point. Change your mindset by thinking of every communication as an opportunity to learn more about your audience, their perspectives, and yourself.

Presenting to Senior Leaders provides opportunities for us to grow our communication skills. While we may encounter some challenges, it is important to remember that we are all focused on achieving the organizational vision. Find opportunities to connect with individuals before and during your communication. Connect your strategic initiatives with the organization vision. Bring your best self to this communication opportunity. Finally, remember to keep a learning mindset.

If you are finding yourself presenting to Senior Leaders and across the organization to your peers, then join us for our Speak Up & Be Effective™ – Momentum public program. Learn how to build momentum and support for your strategic initiatives. Click here to learn more.

Join us for our next Speak Up & Be Effective™ – Momentum program sessions on June 11 & 12 or August 7 & 8. Sign up today!

Written by Jennifer Maxson



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