Get the C-Suite to Listen: Five Strategies

Fine-tuning communication skills can improve your career path.

December 06, 2012
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Talking to members of the C-suite and senior management can be stressful, but it can make all the difference in your career, according to Mark Bashrum, vice president of corporate marketing and strategic intelligence at ESI International.

Communicating clearly, concisely, directly, and persuasively with decision makers who can green light your ideas takes preparation and specialized knowledge, Bashrum says.

He says these five strategies will help ensure that each conversation is professional and effective:

Learning to communicate ideas effectively, Bashrum says, is a required skill for those wishing to advance.

Be Concise

Mark Arnold
December 09, 2012 6:18 pm
These five suggestions are right on target. I would suggest a sixth strategy: be concise. Executives are beyond stressed for time. Be able to communicate your idea quickly and succinctly. Make a compelling case (elevator speech about your idea) in 108 seconds. If they like your thoughts, they'll give you more time.

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Great article! Unfortunately, most employees don’t feel valued or appreciated by their supervisors or employers. In fact, research has shown that the predominant reason team members quit their jobs is because they don’t feel valued. This is in spite of the fact that employee recognition programs have proliferated in the workplace – over 90% of all organizations in the U.S. has some form of employee recognition activities in place. But most employee recognition programs are viewed with skepticism and cynicism – because they aren’t viewed as being genuine in their communication of appreciation. Getting the “employee of the month” award, receiving a certificate of recognition, or a “Way to go, team!” email just don’t get the job done. How do you communicate authentic appreciation? We have found people have different ways that they want to be shown appreciation, and if you don’t communicate in the language of appreciation important to them, you essentially “miss the mark”. Additionally, employees need to receive recognition more than once a year at their performance review. Otherwise, they view the praise as “going through the motions”. A third component of authentic appreciation is that the communication has to be about them personally – not the department, not their group, but something they did. Finally, they have to believe that you mean what you say. How you treat them has to match the words you use. If you are not sure how your team members want to be shown appreciation, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory ( will identify the language of appreciation and specific actions preferred by each employee. You then can create a group profile for your team, so everyone knows how to encourage one another. Remember, employees want to know that they are valued for what they contribute to the success of the organization. And communicating authentic appreciation in the ways they desire it can make the difference between keeping your quality team members or having a negative work environment that everyone wants to leave. Paul White, Ph.D., is the co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace with Dr. Gary Chapman.

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