You made it! You’ve had a successful career, and now you report to the CEO! There have been ups & downs and plenty of challenges, but you’ve worked hard, and here you are. Reporting to the CEO.
But somehow, the CEO doesn’t understand everything you tell him. And he wants you to talk faster and get to the point, making it even more challenging. That you’re a genius is already established. You speak to your team, report to other C-level folks with satisfactory results. Why is it so hard to report to the CEO?
Why it’s hard to report to the CEO
One reason is, the CEO is not living and breathing your wheelhouse. She doesn’t know IT, marketing, or finance as you do. Not even close. That’s the beauty of each department; they work in conjunction. If only they could communicate! Now we can.
Determining the specific information necessary to provide the CEO takes a bit of work. The act of thinking your thoughts isn’t the same as the act of conveying them. The process is different. With practice, it’ll become second nature.
How to report to the CEO
- Prepare your message. Practice it aloud with a recorder. The conclusions you draw in your mind don’t translate directly to speech.
- Bottom-line your message. Don’t give the technical details relevant to your role. (If the CEO understood IT, he wouldn’t need to hire a CTO.)
- Use short sentences with pauses. Dastardly run-on sentences confuse the listener.
- Be relaxed. Nervousness causes mistakes, makes you use too many words, and talk too fast.
- Use an authoritative voice. One that isn’t whingy or go up at the end.
- Eliminate passive terminology like “I believe..” and “well, just, etc.”
So congrats on your C-Level role! You deserve it. Just know that there was no real communication skills training in your firm. You’ve learned your craft to a fare-thee-well but now on to communicating your important messages!
You don’t have to go it alone. Let me know if you need help. I’m here for you.