10 Power Tips for Connecting with Powerful People

Image source: Pat Buntrock

Nothing trumps great work but abilities aren’t enough. Ignorance and insensitivity destroy opportunities.

You embarrass yourself and short circuit your career by expecting everyone to adapt to you. Talent gets you in the door; sensitivity to corporate culture and personalities propels you up stairs.


John Bernard shared, “I remember a young top-tier MBA asked the CEO to go out after work for a beer. Bad call! If he knew the CEO he would have known that level of informality was inappropriate.”

Well-worn path:

Great ideas irritate when they aren’t presented “properly.”

Use established protocols and procedures. “In some corporate cultures,” Jesse Lyn Stoner adds, “Bosses are deeply offended if you talk over them.” Circumventing the well-worn path reflects ignorance and insensitivity.

Jesse Lyn Stoner’s 10 power tips for connecting with powerful people:

  1. Connect now. Don’t wait till you have a great idea.
  2. Align with corporate culture.
  3. Put yourself in the right place.
  4. Don’t eat while you work. Eat where they eat. If executives eat in a public cafeteria, grab a tray.
  5. Engage on social media. Friend on facebook. Comment on their blog. Follow on twitter.
  6. Arrive at work when they do.
  7. Connect with leaders in other departments.
  8. Contribute to the company newsletter.
  9. Include board members.
  10. Never connect for personal gain. Disingenuous behaviors offend.

Bonus: You owe it to your company to get your idea heard.

During our interview, Jesse mentioned restroom conversations. She’s too polite to add them to her tips but I will. Don’t waste a restroom moment. People talk when they wash their hands. Warning! I’m not suggesting you become a lavatory stalker.


Where’s the balance between fitting into corporate culture and standing out?


More on connecting with the C-Suite, Monday. Thanks to the following leaders for their interviews. (Listed in order of their interview):

Doug Conant
John Bell
Steve Farber
John Spence
Mike Myatt
Facebook contributors
John Bernard
Dr. John Snyder
Jesse Lyn Stoner 


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