c-suiteSpeaking with the “people upstairs” can sometimes be challenging or intimidating, but when accomplished, very rewarding. I asked Kelly Guzman, COO at HTS, Inc., about her experiences and if she could provide any words of wisdom for those just starting their careers.  These 5 tips can help first timers feel relaxed and confident the next time they have a meet-and-greet with a “head honcho”:

  1. Be focused and prepared. More often than not, the executives you meet with will not have enough time to hear your 60-minute presentation. Kelly suggests that you should “be prepared – know what points you want to make, and be able to say it in 3 sentences or less.”
  2. Show the information. As Kelly describes, “If there is a way to prepare information with metrics, do it (bring items such as graphs and/or data).” It is always a good idea to visually present your findings so they can see a quick snapshot of what you are trying to say. Sometimes it is easier to make a point clear by showing what could/will happen.
  3. Offer solutions. “Most executives don’t have a lot of time so have proposed solutions when you bring up concerns, risks, or ‘hot’ items,” Kelly says. Offering thoroughly vetted and thoughtful solutions can provide reassurance and facilitate the speedy resolution of issues.
  4. Connection. It can be challenging to make more of a personal connection with a group of people, so try to leave some time to get acquainted.  Suggest meeting for a meal, because, “sometimes [this] is more helpful as they aren’t as distracted” and in many cases, “the only time they have is early morning, lunch or dinner,” Kelly cautions.  If connecting works, this is the perfect time to begin discussion about a new project.
  5. Make a connection with the employees. It is important that we don’t only cater to one group, but that we get everyone involved. As Kelly elaborates, “identifying ‘super stars’ and mentioning them at the beginning of meetings or during key activities such as ‘Day in the Life’ can be a great way to recognize someone who went above and beyond when they are simply doing their job.” It can be as simple as bringing them a “goodie”, trophy, or a certificate stating why they are being recognized.

– Melissa Johnston, Project Support, HTS, Inc., MJohnston@consultHTS.com