In today's globalised world, business etiquette is a form of business intelligence. While companies focus on intellectual and technical skills, it's the soft skills which help us build relationships with our clients, bosses, peers and juniors. In a business setting, appearance, behaviour and communication impacts who gets the contract or the top job. Entrepreneurs and executives who have mastered these skills directly impact the bottom-line of the organisation - after all it's a proven fact that 'people like to do business with people they like'.
Regardless of the nature of a business, to establish oneself as a market leader or a subject expert, one has to communicate with the “C” suite. Usually, CXO’s are high performers who’re driven by results, are extremely focused and willing to invest time in activities that will help them achieve their goals. A few pointers will help in your interactions:
- As CXO’s are difficult to reach, request for a meeting via a formal introduction from a common business partner.
- While the word homework brings back unpleasant memories of school days, its worth doing your homework before meeting with CXO’s. Research on their personal interests, recent awards they’ve won, forums / committees they are spearheading, education and work profile.
- Start the meeting with small talk, transition smoothly to business talk and end with small talk. Try to connect on issues of common interest and display good listening skills.
- Most CXO’s have astute minds and are looking for people who can spar with them intellectually. Prepare the data points for discussions which will go back and forth on how your product / service will address their business problem.
- Be willing to discuss your product at both micro and macro levels, as CXO’s are adept at moving from one to the other smoothly.
- As their time is their most precious commodity, present data in an easy to read format – CXO’s have no time to connect the dots.
- While on one hand CXO’s dislike power points, on the other hand they themselves speak in bullet points! Its best you leave the slides behind; instead talk to them about potential solutions to their business problem.
- During the meeting, focus on building your personal brand by dressing appropriately, addressing formally and displaying the highest level of professionalism.
- CXO’s are constantly scouting for new ideas, cutting-edge solutions and industry information, before their competitors can get its hands on them. They’re constantly looking for products / services which can address their biggest challenges i.e. profitability, employee retention and creating wealth for their stakeholders.
- Stay in touch after the meeting by occasionally sending information, giving you an edge over your competitors. Also, this ensures that when it’s time for decision-making, your name will enjoy the highest recall in the CXO’s mind.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views, official policy or position of GlobalLinker.
Shital Kakkar Mehra
Business Etiquette & Cross-cultural expert; Business Communciation Coach for CXOs