6 tips to keep the C-suite engaged during in-person and online meetings

For your next meeting to be effective, you need to not only create attendance, but also engagement. The distinction is important. Filling your meeting with attendees is only half of the battle — once you get the C-suite in the door (or on to your videoconference) you need to get their attention and ensure they leave with memorable takeaways.

Key challenges in keeping the C-suite engaged

Maintaining engagement among members of the C-suite is challenging for several reasons:

  • They’re busy:
    Time is a precious resource for the C-suite. When meetings get boring, there’s a good chance that senior executives will start to think of all the important things on their personal agendas. Therefore, to be engaging, your event content needs to be developed for a time-strapped audience.
  • They’re already subject matter experts:
    Most organizational leaders are considered thought leaders in their field. If you’re telling them information they already know, they’ll begin to wonder why they bothered to attend your meeting.
  • They may not be digital natives:
    The average age of C-suite members is 54, and the ⦁ average age of CEOs is 58. Keep this in mind, especially when hosting virtual meetings on the latest platforms..

For these and other reasons, it’s crucial to keep the idea of engagement front and center when planning your next meeting. Engagement should always be a top priority.

6 ways to keep the C-suite engaged with your message

Keeping the C-suite engaged with your content is easier when you go into the meeting with a solid plan. Here are six ways to strategically engage the C-suite:
  • 1. Understand your event needs:
    Considering your attendee’s busy schedules, it’s important to keep your agenda to a reasonable length of time — usually no more than an hour. Whether you’re presenting online or in person, think about what equipment you’ll need to get your meeting up and running quickly and smoothly. Be prepared to test-run your meeting to ensure everything works seamlessly. Faulty equipment like a broken sound system could completely derail your message.

    For in-person meetings, consider what physical collateral you’ll need, such as brochures and name tags. For virtual events, consider sending a digital welcome package ahead of time.
  • 2. Capture curiosity through collaboration:
    Your meeting content should be tailored specifically to your C-suite audience. Remember, they’re looking for new, exciting information that addresses their unique business needs and challenges.

    Think about how you can work with high-value participants ahead of time to create content that speaks directly to the C-suite’s needs. Solicit advice from your colleagues and external subject matter experts ahead of time. Then, you can use what you learn to maximize the impact of your message.
  • 3. Develop your presentation structure:
    Rather than throwing away used decorations, rent items from a local company that can be used again. Your meeting agenda should not only fit within a reasonable timeframe, but it should also be segmented to maintain your audience’s interest. For example, an hour-long presentation likely isn’t well-suited for members of the C-suite.

    Break up your agenda with icebreaker questions, breakout sessions, discussions and other interactive elements. Let the audience know the agenda ahead of time, and then make sure you stick to it as close as possible.
  • 4. Leverage innovative technology:
    Although many members of the C-suite did not grow up with technology, you can still leverage the latest innovations at your meetings — just make sure the tools you use are easy to understand. For example, interactive polls and confidential surveys can easily be delivered to your attendees’ smartphones.

    In addition, on-screen social media engagement is a great way to keep audience members engaged while promoting your social channels. This will not only allow you to engage the audience during the meeting, but also after the event ends.
  • 5. Invite exciting guest speakers:
    Bringing on well-known industry influencers can attract members of the C-suite and keep them engaged during the meeting. This will require some work well in advance, of course. Reach out to thought leaders in your industry and gauge their interest in speaking at one of your upcoming meetings. Then, work with them to understand how their expertise fits with your own content and meeting objectives.
  • 6. Use branding to make the event memorable:
    Online or in-person, your event should be branded in a manner that is unobtrusive yet memorable. Good branding ensures that your audience connects your brand with your message. That way, when they think about your content, it will be inextricably linked to your company and its thought leadership.

    Consider how you might brand the digital and physical aspects of your next meeting. Gifts, such as branded company swag, are one way to give audience members a tangible reminder of the event.

Ready to impress the C-suite at your next meeting? Get in touch with our experts to learn more about how we can help.