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Key Learnings for Briefing the Boss

Do:

  • Invite your direct boss to participate in the meeting, or at least meet with him or her beforehand to gain perspective and advice.

  • Reestablish the priority of the information you’re about to report by quoting the boss on the subject, actually using the boss’s own words. There’s no better way to get his or her attention.

  • Establish your agenda. No more than three points. Include estimated time. No more than twenty minutes. At this point the boss will relax. You won’t be there long enough to bore him.

  • Cover the big picture only. If the boss wants more, you’ll be asked.

  • Suggest action or next steps, even if that is not part of your assignment. If you omit this, you are a messenger. Messengers are not important cogs in a company and they are not paid well.

  • Finish five minutes early—in fifteen minutes instead of twenty. The boss will love you. You’ll become part of the company’s folklore.

Don’t:

  • Wing it or take it lightly. It’s the big boss you’re talking to. It’s your chance to impress.

  • Bypass your direct boss. Careers are made in these meetings—you need all the help you can get.

  • Overstay your welcome. You can bask in the sun later; don’t bask in the boss’s office.

  • Try to show how much you know by drowning the boss with information. Your boss will be bored, not impressed. And if you’re boring, you won’t get invited back.


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