There’s no shortage of advice on how to brief a senior leader: Keep it short, front-load the message, and so on. But you can’t undervalue the interpersonal dynamics in the room when you’re presenting crucial information to the big boss. So before the meeting, identify the senior leader's most trusted advisor.
Consult with that person ahead of time so they’ll be able to vouch for you and back up the information you're presenting. Their support will help you earn the senior leader’s trust. Next, familiarize yourself with your boss's instructions. For example, what are their nonverbal cues that indicate that they want you to either say more or hurry up. You need to adapt your style in real time based on their reaction — so make sure you know what those signals are.
Finally, find out how your boss engages with material. Are they someone who pushes back on points? Are they a quiet listener? Or do they ask a lot of questions? Being aware of these things ahead of time will make you more effective in communicating the right message under pressure.
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