Effective Communication for CFOs

There were great take-aways from Scott Eblin’s recent blog post “How to Get the CEO to Listen to You.” Great take-aways for CFOs in communicating generally, but specifically in marketing Product You.

Eblin’s list and comments are in bold and italics. My comments follow his.

They knew what they wanted to say: They had thought about what they wanted to say before they got to the meeting.

Being crystal-clear about your marketable value proposition (MVP) is critically important. If a recruiter called you this afternoon, would your responses be clear and compelling?

They made it about the company and not about them: The people who made the biggest impact with their comments stayed about as far away from whining as you could get. They framed their comments in terms of what was best for the future of the company.  There was no “poor, pitiful me” tone to their remarks.

WIIFM … what’s in it for me is the ONLY question a company wants answered. How can you take away our problems, challenges, situations, and issues … and oh by the way, save us money doing it?

They had a clear point of view: The people the CEO listened to the most had an informed and clearly held point of view. They weren’t wishy-washy in the way they teed things up.

Authentic branding. Playing from your strengths, passions, and values. Subject matter expert. Either you stand for something or you’ll fall for anything.

They backed up their point of view with facts and stories about the impact of the problem: The most effective communicators shared facts and told real world stories that illustrated how the problem played out in real life and how that was hampering growth. They used examples that everyone could easily understand and relate to.

C-A-R stories. What was the Challenge? What Action was taken? What was the measurable Result? Solid C-A-R stories ensure you can provide compelling answers to any interview question.

They offered solutions that were easy to implement and likely to make a difference: When we got to the offer solutions part of the meeting, the people who had the biggest impact were the ones that offered solutions that were simple and clear. A good gauge of that was that they could easily get the core idea onto a Post It note.

The last sentence is critical. Can you convey your value in approximately 140 characters, roughly 15-20 words?

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