Communicating with the C-Suite

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Communicating with the C-Suite

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It can be elusive, scary, and a place where people sometimes go and are never seen again. Some people will work for most of the career striving to get to the C-Suite, others prefer to avoid it.

business people group on meeting

Is it harder to communicate with those occupying the tower of the elite? If you’re not in the tower, the feeling just might be an overwhelming, yes.

What makes it so difficult? Aren’t these just people?

Yes, of course, but their charge is somewhat different. Sure everyone is working toward some contribution for the greater good of the organization, but those in the C-Suite are operating under a different kind of pressure. Their pressure is intense, their time very limited, and often they face decisions for setting direction that could result in an enormous victory or become the harshest defeat.

Do you have success communicating with the C-Suite? Are you looking for ways to improve?

Here are a few tips that might help:

  1. Be straight forward. Time is critical for everyone, and those in the C-Suite are definitely concerned about time. Details, drama, or indecisiveness tend to slow things down and time often feels like it is already working against them. Dance less, and give it to them straight.
  2. Bring evidence. Opinions are not facts. If you’re seeking permission or direction for a decision it might help to have a little proof in your proposal. Statistics, white papers, or stock reports might help your cause, but so will street smart news reports or details about a marketing campaign recently launched by a competitor.
  3. Be compelling. If you deliver like a church mouse, you’re probably not commanding enough respect. Chances are good that arrogance is too much, but having appropriate confidence, showing passion for your thoughts or ideas, and having a concise delivery will help bring clarity to your message.
  4. Deliver trusted information. There is a good chance that your C-Suite executive needs more information but their challenge is getting the right information. Their data needs to be reliable and valid. Often they are provided with so much information from so many different resources they simply don’t know who or what to trust. Become that trusted resource.
  5. Be patient. While the C-Suite often operates at a lightening pace, it might seem like a turtle race to others in the organization. If you’re going to build a strong relationship with those in the tower you’re going to have to learn to be patient. What feels urgent to you might have a very low priority for them. When in doubt, stay calm and be patient.

Communication drives all that we do. The very best organizations are great communicators from the top to the bottom and from the bottom to the top.

Avoidance, hesitation, or procrastination likely won’t improve the outcomes of any communication, especially communication with the C-Suite.

Make sense?

Sweet, you’ve got this!


Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a four-time author and some of his work includes, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce and Pivot and Accelerate, The Next Move Is Yours! Reach him through his website at or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+

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A Friend

December 23, 2016at 10:51 am

Just Brilliant! Merry Christmas!

    Dennis Gilbert

    December 24, 2016at 7:41 am

    Thanks so much! Merry Christmas to you too!

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