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Submitted by rdavid68 on


This week I am meeting with our CEO. I’ve never met with him, but he seems to know about my work on my current project.

I’m a bit nervous about this actually, and I’m not sure what I should come prepared to discuss. I won’t have much time with him and I want to use the time that I do have effectively. Do you have any suggestions for how I should 1) prepare for this meeting and 2) what my focus should be? I would really like to make a good first impression.

Thank you in advance for your help,

wendii's picture
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I'm about to be late, but for a starter try here:

I think it's a different situation, but may help.


TimBryce's picture

Dress and act professionally. And always remember that the CEO puts
on his pants one leg at a time (just like you do).

Hope this helps.

All the Best,

chaser's picture

Unless you have a specific project review or information to share you shouldn't do anything special other than get a good nights sleep the night before and don't drink too much coffee before...

I agree with Tim's comment.

Let us know how it goes.


Mark's picture
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It sure would help to know why he's meeting with you. Did he request it specfically? Did your boss or someone else schedule this? How many layers are between you and him? How big a company is this (annual sales and industry)? Do you think it's the project? Surely your boss hasn't allowed a meeting like this to be scheduled without knowing the topic...


rdavid68's picture
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The last time that I was in the corporate headquarters, the CEO stopped me in the halls and said that he'd like to talk to me about my project. My project is at a customer site which is many hours (by plane) away from I'm not at our headquarters very often.

There is a Director, VP, and EVP between me and the CEO. The company is in the software industry with approximately 500 employees and annual revenue over $60 million.

I think the project is the primary reason that he'd like to talk to me. It's an important customer and we went through some tough times with them (slipped dates, etc) for several months at the beginning of the year. It was very rough and demanded a lot of additional hours of my time.

I'd really like to use my time effectively with him and not just talk to him about the project. Does this help?

Mark's picture
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Great help. How much time do you have, who else will be in the room, and what have you been told by anyone between you and him about the siatuation? Lacking that, what does the CEO's assistant tell you he has on his calendar to do during the meeting?


rdavid68's picture
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I'll have 30 minutes and no one else will be in the room with us. I don't have any other one has told me anything about the meeting. Oh, and the CEO doesn't have an assistant.

Also, I just had my annual review last month and I was told that I had handled my customer situation well...I came out on the high end of the I'm fairly certain I didn't mishandle the situation.

Based on your questions, I'm really curious about your assessment of the meeting.

Mark's picture
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Actually kind of surprised no one else wanted to know these things before giving advice. Context is a huge part of preparation for meetings like this.

Look, clearly this is a meeting to size you up, under the guise of getting to know you. Put differently, CEOs don't meet people just to get to know them - their [i]job [/i]is to size you up.

You should prepare a short briefing on your present project. Perhaps 2-3 slides, touching on the key issues that inform all such project discussions. (Be advised I would never take 50 slides into such a briefing, but if that's normal at your firm, don't rock the boat. When in Rome).

Be ready for a detailed discussion of your project, based on key metrics and deliverables.

And, be ready for more, usually about your career, your prospects, and your interests. Don't think that the "best" approach is to have no opinion for fear of being wrong. Tell him what you want, what your interests are, etc. Don't be shy about your aspirations. LISTEN CAREFULLY. Often CEOs become quite good at precise wording. Answer what he asks.

And, all that aside, be yourself. No need to be nervous, no need to avoid saying true things, no need to be so politically correct you haven't any opinions at all.

It will go by fast!

Good luck - you'll do well.