My boss brought up a great career tip to me the other day that I had not even thought about before. When the big boss, CEO, or your supervisor’s boss actually takes the time out of his day to talk to you, it is in your best interest to have a few key talking points ready to help you make a great impression in those few precious moments with the head honcho.
Talking Points. What are talking points you might be asking yourself? Talking points are a couple of bullet points, comments, or statements that you want to always have ready in order to get your message across to a particular audience. Your talking points might be your work section’s new campaign slogan that your team has been working on for weeks. Or, it might be a great new project or client that you recently lured into doing business with your firm. It is kind of like an elevator pitch without the sales focus. You are not trying to get the CEO to buy your product or way of thinking, but you him or her to buy into the fact that your team and you are the best things since sliced bread. You want to have your top accomplishments ready so you can highlight your team’s recent great accomplishments and leave a lasting impression on your company’s leadership.
Performance Reviews. When that time comes around every year for annual performance reviews, most of our direct supervisors know what we did and what our accomplishments to the company were. But, does your supervisor’s boss know about your successes? Does he have a hand in your reviews or write a portion? Could it hurt if the boss’s boss knows your name and the great things that you and your team have done? Of course not….and, heaven knows that we all need the top bosses to know our contributions to the bottom line in today’s economy where the country’s unemployment rate is creeping closer and closer to 10% every month.
In The Elevator. You never know when the opportunity to talk to the big boss is going to present itself. You might run into each other on the elevator heading into the office one morning. You might bump into each other at the coffee pot or even at the dry cleaners. What are you going to talk about with the CEO? Talking about how the Atlanta Braves blew another lead in the ninth inning last night will only get your career so far, and then it will get you a pink slip like all the other forgettable employees that work at your company. And, then what will you have to show for all of your effort but months of job hunting and another year where your favorite baseball team will once again not win the World Series.
So, have a few bullet comments ready at all times for those wonderful, spontaneous chance encounters with the powers that be. Know how your team has contributed to the company’s bottom line. The CEO will remember only one or two key things that you say in those thirty seconds in that elevator. Do you want him to associate your name with Chipper Jones’ strike out last night or with Group XYZ increasing sales by 20% quarter over quarter this past year? Your opportunities are so few and far between. You have to make the most of them when they present themselves and having key talking points ready ahead of time will put your head and shoulders above your peers.