Tips for a Successful One-on-One Meeting with Senior Leadership
By Shari Steinbach, MS RDN, RDBA Contributing Editor
Scheduling a one-on-one meeting with a senior leader from your company may cause you some anxiety, but it can be a great way to build trust and advance your career goals. Like any good meeting, it’s important prepare in advance. Here are some tips to ensure you make the most of your time together.
- Have an agenda. Preparation can decrease your pre-meeting nerves and will increase your confidence. In addition, having an agenda shows the person you are meeting with that you don’t want to waste their time. Include priority projects, challenges, successes, and space for meeting action items.
- Set your mind for success. Enter the meeting with a mindset of enthusiasm. Think about what a great opportunity this is to ask a senior leader an important question or simply connect so they know who you are and what benefits you bring to the company.
- Establish a personal connection. Senior leaders are people too, so try to connect on a personal level to help you feel less intimidated. Build rapport by talking about the local sports team, family or a recent trip to find some common ground.
- Discuss your career goals. Bringing up your career goals or areas of interest provides another talking point and shows that you have a long-term commitment to the company. It may also be appropriate to ask about opportunities to develop your skills and suggested paths to accomplishing your goals.
- Communicate your passion in the business. Demonstrate that you understand the retail industry and are passionate about it. If you have a new innovative idea, don’t be afraid to bring it up. Just make sure your project is well thought-out and researched. The leader you are meeting with may be able to collaborate with you on your idea and discuss ways to build it out further.
- Know your stuff. Display confidence but at the same time, don’t come across as arrogant. Stay humble and make sure they know you welcome their feedback and suggestions.
- Keep it conversational. While you want to present your talking points clearly and with intention, you also need to be a good listener in one-on-one meetings. Good conversations are about finding a balance between communicating your confidence and ideas, then stepping back to let the other person take the lead. Bring a few questions that you’d like to get your leader’s input on. For instance, how did they handle a certain corporate challenge? Or, what are their priorities for corporate success?
- Display your personal brand. What special talents do you bring to the company based on your education and experience? Make it clear where you offer unique expertise and how that expertise has helped other departments and store sales. Consider knowledge about food and nutrition trends knowledge, consumer insights, culinary skills, or links to community organizations.