Miłosz Miszewski - CEO @ mDevelopers: I had a chance to discuss with hundreds of executives about their optimization plans, sales strategies, IT challenges, etc. I really love to listen, analyze, advise SMEs, and Startups.
An extrovert like me has never thought that I would start sharing my experiences online. Why did I change my mind?
Heraclitus once said: “The only constant in life is change.” IDC published white papers that:
75% of B2B buyers and 84% of C-level/vice president (VP) executives surveyed use social media to make purchasing decisions.
What does it mean to me? Discussing with executives online would be hard. I need to open myself for public presence, be ready for criticism, and find out if I am experienced enough to bring value to my audience. Now, I am opening a new chapter focusing on sharing my thoughts and experience in technology, marketing, and management.
Although this article is about discussing face-to-face with C-level executives, I would like you to be prepared for online presence. I do believe that meetings in person are crucial to building relationships and trust. Right now, we are in the middle of a COVID pandemic, and signing an agreement with a US client is just impossible. What does it mean? The same rules are applied to online and offline conversations. What are three of the essential rules for executive meetings? I would like you to challenge mine.
IBM Top Gun rule one. Preparation is the most important for each meeting, especially with C-level. The IBM training I took part in a couple of years ago taught me a few things, and there is one that will stay with me forever. Preparation is the most crucial part of every appointment.
No matter if you are meeting with C-level, Managers, or Employees. If you are prepared, there is a considerable chance that you will achieve your planned goal.
Below I have listed some principles. You may take into consideration before getting ready for the meeting with executives:
- Set a clear goal you want to achieve and prepare the agenda.
- Research with whom you will be meeting.
- Find out how the organization operates.
- Identify competitors.
- Research the trends in the market.
Why is it so important to be well prepared? Because they not only expect it from us. They do the same when it comes to their important meetings.
Bring value and lead with insights.
Remember that executives constantly think about company improvement, challenges, and benefits of presented proposals. You need to understand their priorities and focus on the value you could bring to their organizations. Start with a general overview and be prepared to get to the point and discuss it in detail. If you have taken your time for preparation, then you may become an interesting person for your C-level executive.
What does that mean? It is not only because your project brings value to their organization but also because you are an interesting person with a lot of insights to share
Listen actively to your prospect.
Executives are usually overwhelmed with meetings, projects, data, and the challenges they need to overcome. They require a pleasant discussion focused on sharing thoughts, information, experiences.
Most of us believe that succinct and precise presentation is something they expect. Yes, they do; it is obvious. But actively listening is equally important. Many years ago, I heard in the Accenture’s corridor that the one who asks questions controls the conversation. For me, it means that good questions are the essential parts of each meeting. I would advise everyone to prepare a list of questions that would demand from your executive reflection and consideration. They will make your discussion more interesting and comprehensive.
I am at the beginning of my online presence and discussion with business owners using social media. It is a little bit stressful, but I do believe that if I prepare myself, share insights, then I will be able to bring value. Engaging executives and asking for feedback will be a part of my active social listening. This is something that I wish you and myself. Please share your thoughts and ideas for establishing a high-quality C-level meeting.