How to talk to a CEO

Mark Stelzner
Founder/Principal, IA HR

How to talk to a CEOMy first meeting with the CEO of a Fortune 1000 firm was a complete disaster. It was fifteen years ago and despite the cool breeze that was blowing outside, I was sweating bullets. This guy was a titan of industry so my mind jumped frantically between the thrill of the opportunity and the terror of screwing it up.

Entering his office with a huge smile, I instantly vomited verbal nonsense with, “It must be a great honor for you to meet me sir! I can only imagine how excited you are!” Ugh.. I couldn’t believe what I had said and my smile grew increasingly awkward. Excited to meet me?? It sounded like I was being a sarcastic a-hole. With a furrowed brow, he peeled his fingers away from my death grip, sighed heavily and looked at his watch.

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