Meeting with my CEO on Tuesday- advice?
February 15, 2015 7:31 PM   Subscribe

I'm meeting with the CEO of my company in two days. Please help me appear professional/outgoing instead of an awkward mess.

I just learned on Friday that myself (along with two other employees) are meeting with the CEO of our company in two days as we're the "exceptional employees" of our office (of about 150 people, there's approximately 600 employees in the company). I'm not too sure of the specifics, but I think this ranking was just based on production and reviews so no one in the upper echelons is really aware of who I am. I also don't know much about this meeting, but from what I gather, it will be a meet-and-greet and an attempt to evaluate us for possible promotions. Obviously I would like to make the best impression possible, but I really don't have any experience interacting with upper management and have little-to-no contact with my direct supervisor.

I'm also slightly concerned about what the company views as a model employee (bubbly, outgoing) as I'm an introvert. So, I was wondering what I could do to appear both professional and outgoing/fun. In addition, any tips for interacting with upper management/the CEO for the first time would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
posted by oxfordcomma to Work & Money (3 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Don't try to be anything you're not. Calm, polite, and cheerful people are just as valuable as bubbly outgoing ones. If you are pretending to be something other than who you are, the CEO will pick up on that and wonder why. Listen. Be gracious. Look him or her directly in the eye when you speak. Send a follow up email to thank them for their time. Treat it like a mini interview. You were yourself when you got the job, right?
posted by Hermione Granger at 7:35 PM on February 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


Think of this as preparing for an interview. Since they are not aware of who you are, practice giving your 1-2 paragraph spiel about how long you've been in the company/department, what your previous work experience is, what your current job role is, what you ultimately want to do with your career (but make sure not to sound rehearsed!). Be prepared to talk about what your current challenges are, and if there is anything slowing you down from doing your job well - I imagine a good CEO would want to know that.

Does your company have any "leadership behaviors" or a mission statement, or any of that corporate stuff? If yes, learn the behaviors or the mission statement. Have there been any business briefings or communications at the end of 2014 or beginning of 2015 about the direction of the company, or a "5 year plan" type of thing? If yes, prepare a few questions about that, and how it might affect your role, or what people in your role can do to help the company succeed with the plan. Have there been any new technologies/software/programs rolled out at your company recently? Maybe have a comment about that.

But above all, just relax, be polite, smile, make eye contact, don't speak too fast and appear nervous. Be yourself. Genuinely be interested in what the CEO has to say. Think about what you enjoy most about your job, what you've accomplished, how you've grown in your role. Just show your enthusiasm for where you are in your career and show that you want to learn more. But do also take the time to think about the topics I mentioned in the first 2 paragraphs, so that no matter where the conversation ends up you have a valuable comment to add that shows you care about the direction of the company, and that you are 110% confident in knowing your role.
posted by never.was.and.never.will.be. at 7:45 PM on February 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


Congratulations, this sounds like fun.

Don't alter your personality, you're there for the work that you've done and for exactly who you are. Read up on the big picture company stuff, have it in your back pocket. Don't work overtime to wedge it into a conversation, but it may help with comments in context.

Let the CEO talk. Those guys LOVE to talk anyway and nodding appreciatively is as good an answer as any.

Do practice a short description of who you are and why you're there. "I'm oxfordcomma, Ive been in the widget depository for four years. I developed a new widget distribution process that's saved the company 2 days on shipping fulfillment." Then a firm handshake.

Rub elbows with your other honorees. You guys are the pinnacle of your company right now. You all may be working on projects together in the future. Make mental notes of folks who have synergistic duties, you may be able to work together on something.

I went to a lunch like this when I was a customer service wonk back in the eighties. I made friends with the President of our division and he remembered me every time we bumped into each other at large company functions. (RIP Gene.)

Good managers and CEOs are people-people. They DO remember stand out employees, and they WANT to move them up, because first rate people hire and promote first rate people. Second rate people, hire and promote third rate people.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:41 AM on February 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


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