Our jobs require us to work closely with CEOs and other c-suite executives. It can be intimidating to be called into these offices, but our jobs depend on our ability to give good counsel when it’s required. To add to that stress, depending on your client or industry, most of your interaction with these executives might come during crisis situations. If you want to keep being invited to high-level meetings, you need to demonstrate your value.
Here are some tips I’ve picked up throughout the years:
-Go back to your childhood and remember to be seen, not heard. That’s not always applicable, but if there is more than one executive in the room, make sure you’re doing more listening than talking. Not only will you learn a few things, but it will ensure that when you do speak up, people will listen. Nothing will frustrate an executive more than someone who doesn’t know his or her place and speaks too much.
-Ask the right questions. PR people excel in being able to analyze situations from a variety of angles. If you feel like someone isn’t thinking of a certain point, speak up. You want people to rely on your ability to think deliberately through scenarios.
-Be perfect. If you are in a situation where you are providing materials to executives, there is no such thing as a draft. Make sure that not only the documents, but the emails are proofed for grammar and punctuation. Nothing is more embarrassing than having an executive catch a spelling error in your materials.
-Remember your manners. There isn’t a more important time to remember the basics: don’t sit at the head of the table, give a nice handshake, don’t be multitasking by answering emails and texts and my personal pet-peeve, don’t interrupt.