13 Tips For Big Purchasing Meetings, Part I

PurchTips edition #284


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How Should You Prepare For Executive Meetings?

When you conduct a meeting with a senior executive (CEO, CFO, etc.), it is an opportunity for you to elevate the status of your purchasing department as well as yourself. Of course, if the meeting doesn't go well, it could have the opposite effect. Here are the first five of 13 tips for conducting a great executive meeting. We'll cover the other eight in two future editions of PurchTips.

Tip #1: Understand the topics that executives care about. While sharp executives like to hear about opportunities that will help them achieve certain organizational goals, opportunities often don't have the urgency that solutions to problems do. Sometimes, it's wise to position your topic as a solution to problem that, if left unsolved, will have certain imminent consequences in order to get priority with executives.

Tip #2: Keep it simple. Executives are usually extremely smart people. This leads many purchasing professionals to assume that they can give highly complex presentations. That's a bad assumption! Executives, while being among the smartest people, are often the busiest people and have many competing thoughts dancing in their heads. Therefore, strive to keep your discussion and materials simple enough that a 6th grader could understand them.

Tip #3: Ensure the math is correct on your materials. In purchasing, much of our work revolves around monetary calculations. If just one of your calculations is wrong, executives will often feel that your entire presentation lacks credibility, dismiss it as invalid, and not give you a chance to correct it. Always double-, if not triple-, check your math.

Tip #4: Ensure your spelling is correct. Smart executives often feel that people who can't spell are dumb. And successful executives rarely take advice from dumb people. Double-check your spelling.

Tip #5: Pay extra attention to the first page/slide. The first thing that executives see will often shape their impression of your entire presentation for better or worse. If the first page/slide contains spelling errors or looks sloppy, it can be enough to kill executives' interest in what's to follow.

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