Maximising senior executive, chance encounters
Picture this . . . you’re walking out of your office and you spy one of your organisation’s senior executives entering the office. This person is someone whom you’ve been trying to meet with for the past two months, without success.
Consider how you would make a positive impression with the person and open him/her up to potentially meeting with you.
The techniques to use for this interaction are to: 1. Be quick, but don’t hurry, 2. Make a strong voice and visual connection, 3. Have a simple message packaged in an open, middle, close format. Let me explain these techniques (some I’ve alluded to in earlier posts).
1. Be quick but don’t hurry. This is a suggestion from John Wooden, renown U.S. college basketball coach. For our purposes it means to get the attention of the senior executive quickly, but once you have their attention, don’t rush (as actors are told ‘don’t rush your lines’). In addition, it means to tune into the rhythm of the interaction, and the moment. In practice, you might use the following question, followed by a pause: ‘Tim, do you have a moment?’
2. Make a strong voice and visual connection. This means have energy in your voice and ‘eye lock’ the person as you approach them.
3. Have a simple message delivered in an open, middle, close format. This means you open the interaction (ie. with question above). Then you pitch your idea. Then you close off the interaction.
Putting all of this together, it could run as follows:
(Open)’Tim do you have a moment?’ (pause and listen to what they say and if they say yes, proceed. If they say ‘No’ just respond ‘Fine I’ll catch you later).
(Middle)”I’ve got a fresh idea about the x project that I believe could shave off 10% of our costs (pause) I need four minutes of your time to show you how . . . can I go through your EA Kristal to book in that time with you?’ (they’ll often say ‘Yes’)
(Close) ‘Fine I’ll do that’.
A caveat here is this. Make sure your idea is a worthy one. One you have thought through and reflected on – something you believe can really benefit the organisation. If it’s not, you might get one meeting with the executive but they may baulk at giving you more time.
The ‘how to’ for this post is to practice the above techniques with non-senior executives to develop your skill. Then, when you have built up your confidence and technique, approach a senior executive with a worthy pitch.