During initial meetings with a new CEO, one of your key roles involves advising the new leader on showcasing his or her communications skills. Running through this checklist with the CEO will make the internal transition smoother and also give you a clear sense of the person’s communications style.
- Listen. Even though people want to hear from the new boss, it’s essential he or she not hog the spotlight. During Q&A sessions and one-on-one meetings, the most important thing a new leader can do is be quiet and listen. Many employees will have worked at the organization for a long time, so listening carefully to their views and perspectives can be invaluable.
- Be visible. Even after the first whirlwind of on-site visits, videoconferences, staff forums, small group meetings, etc., employees will be looking to the new CEO to continue to be visible a month, six months and a year after arriving on the scene. Schedule time out of the office as much as possible, walk around, communicate daily by e-mail, eat lunch in the cafeteria, drop by different departments. Block off specific times for these activities.
- Repeat key messages. People are busy, busy, busy. Work needs to get done, noise levels are high and there are any number of distractions that will get in the way of messages getting through about necessary change. Repeat key messages several times in several different ways. By being persistent, people will realize the importance and urgency of these messages.
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