Career Advice

How to Impress a CEO in One Minute: 12 Winning Strategies

When you meet the CEO of your company, you’ll want to make a good and lasting impression. This way, your name will stand out to them. However, CEOs are very busy (a study showed that they work 48.5 hours per week – 4 more hours than a regular worker). Chances are, you’ll only have a few minutes (or less than one minute) to talk to them. 

If that’s the case, you’ll want to know how to impress a CEO in one minute. To help you, I’ll give 12 winning strategies to impress your CEO when you randomly meet them in the elevator and during a meeting. But first…

Why Is It Important to Impress a CEO

The chief executive officer (CEO) holds the top executive position within a company. They have a lot of power and control over what goes on. You can already guess why it’s important to impress them, but here are 5 specific reasons:

  • Opportunity to advance in your career. If the CEO is impressed, you’ll have better chances of getting that dream promotion or career advancement opportunity. Who knows, you might even be taken for a management role.
  • Build a professional relationship. Positive interactions with the CEO can foster strong professional relationships. You can use this connection for collaboration, mentorship, and gaining insights into the industry.
  • Gain company visibility. Impressing the CEO can bring attention to your contributions and skills. You’ll soon be recognized by the top leaders across the company.
  • Help with decisions. As leaders, CEOs play a crucial role in decision-making processes. If the CEO trusts you, they may value your ideas and opinions when making an important decision for the company.
  • Boost your professional reputation. If the CEO has a positive impression of you, no doubt your professional reputation will grow. It may even grow outside of the four walls of your company. Your name will be known by the whole industry. Can you imagine the new opportunities outside of your current role this will open?

5 Strategies to Impress Your CEO in One Minute 

Picture this: You bump into the company CEO in the elevator or hallway. You only have a minute or less than 1 minute to make a good impression. What do you do? How to impress your CEO in one minute? Here are 5 strategies to consider:

  1. Give a cheery greeting
  2. Show confidence
  3. Show up early
  4. Be yourself
  5. Be a good listener

1. Give a cheery greeting

80% of workers say that they are very stressed when on the job. That can translate to a constant grim expression on your face. You might not have the energy or care to even smile at the CEO when you bump into them. Well, I won’t be surprised if this is something CEOs are used to by now. 

But you want to stand out. And since 1 minute is not long at all, a firm handshake, a big smile, a cheery greeting, and maybe some small talk with make you stand out. It will give the impression that you are happy with your job. 

2. Show confidence

If you’re not one for talking (or your CEO is in a rush and doesn’t have time for conversations), you can make an impression just by how you present yourself. So stand up a little straighter. If necessary, offer a firm handshake and maintain eye contact. Remember, non-verbal cues can significantly influence perceptions.

Read More: 15 Examples of Confidence in the Workplace to Unlock Success

3. Show up early

Since CEOs’ days are packed, they usually arrive at work early. If you want to make a good impression, you should arrive early, too. If you always enter the building together, your CEO will see that you’re a dedicated and hard worker. Yes, something as small as this can impress the CEO. 

4. Be yourself

Don’t make it too obvious that you’re trying to impress. A CEO might be able to see through your fakeness – or, you’ll become very nervous and stumble on your words. Instead, just be yourself. Let things flow naturally. 

Someone from Reddit says:

In one minute, you can’t prove many things as an employee. But you can do much as a human. Just be what you are and impress with your humanitarian qualities. Who knows, it might hit the CEO.

5. Be a good listener

Let’s say you have a bit more time to talk with the CEO. You can ask thoughtful questions, give ideas, or highlight achievements. However, the most important thing is to be a good listener.

CEOs have a wealth of knowledge, if you listen to them you’ll be able to learn a lot of things. Plus, paying close attention to what the CEO has to say will give them the impression that you respect their position and knowledge. This is a good way to impress them. 

7 Strategies to Impress a CEO During a Meeting

OK, but how do you impress a CEO when you’re given more minutes with them at a meeting? I’ll give you 7 strategies to consider. Here is how to impress a CEO in a meeting:

  1. Read the CEO’s work
  2. Share the agenda early
  3. Prepare thoughtful questions
  4. Respect your CEO’s schedule
  5. Discuss the company vision and strategy
  6. Highlight data and insights
  7. Have a professional and confident demeanor

1. Read the CEO’s work

Before meeting with the CEO, you want to do some groundwork. You want to have some foundational knowledge about them or their work.

If they have published work, like a book, essay, blog, or paper, go and read it. If not, you can try to see if they are featured in a podcast. Or, you can simply go through their LinkedIn profile. 

Carmine Gallo, author of The Bezos Blueprint, says:

If the CEO has written a book, I often quote from it. Lately, however, I’ve been stunned when I ask the audience for a show of hands—how many have read the book? I’m surprised because very few hands go up. I count two hands for every hundred people. In other words, if you simply read the CEO’s book, you’ll stand out.

2. Share the agenda early

A CEO meeting typically lasts for 15-30 minutes. That’s not a lot of time, especially if you have much to talk about. This is why it’s best to make a detailed agenda. 

Not just that, you should send the agenda in advance to your CEO, too. This way, they will know the focus and objective of the meeting from start to finish. If both of you know what to expect, it will be easier to get things started right away. 

And of course, let’s not forget your end goal. Being well-prepared and organized will grab the CEO’s attention. 

3. Prepare thoughtful questions

Hannah Ross, a digital strategist, says, “Meetings are meant to spark conversation and provide clarity and that can be nearly impossible if you don’t come prepared with the right questions.” So take the time to write down thoughtful questions you may want to ask the CEO. 

Also, if you have insightful and well-crafted questions, your CEO will see you as someone with critical thinking and strategic skills. It will also show them your interest and eagerness to learn all you can to improve your performance. 

Read More: 65 Questions To Ask Executives At Town Hall Meetings in 2023

4.  Respect your CEO’s schedule

If you respect your CEO, they will respect you. One of the best ways to show respect is understanding that they have a very busy schedule. 

So when meeting with a CEO, let them choose a free slot in their calendar. If you’re busy, you can have them pick a suitable time slot from your calendar. 

Even more importantly, make sure the meeting starts and finishes on time. This not only shows respect, but it proves that you have great time management skills, optimal productivity, and professionalism. If you want to make an impression, you should consider even this small detail. 

5. Discuss company vision and strategy

What do you and the CEO have in common? Answer: you both want to achieve the company’s goals and objectives. But how do you let the CEO know that’s your goal?

Well, you take the time to discuss the company vision and strategy. This tells the CEO that you have a genuine interest in the company. Plus, the value of the conversation will help you learn more about the company. In turn, you can do an excellent job in your role. 

6. Highlight data and insights

During your discussion, it’s a good idea to highlight a few data and insights. Mind you, don’t overdo it on data points and insights. This might just overwhelm both you and the CEO. 

Highlighting 1 or 2 data or insights can impress your CEO in many ways. For one, showcasing data reflects that you have done your homework, thoroughly analyzed information, and are ready to contribute substantively to the discussion.

Another thing. CEOs are more likely to trust your contributions when they are backed by data, strengthening your position as a reliable and knowledgeable team member. These are just some of the ways to impress when meeting with your CEO. 

7. Have a professional and confident demeanor

A good impression depends on 55% appearance, 38% first words, and 7% actual words. All this can be checked if you hold a professional and confident demeanor throughout the meeting. 

OK, maybe the CEO won’t mind someone who is clearly nervous and stumbles on their words. But they also won’t remember them. And this is what you want – to be remembered. If you radiate professionalism and confidence, that can catch the CEO’s eye. 

So sit up straight. Keep eye contact. Present your ideas and questions without stuttering. Listen intently to what they have to say. Ask for advice. Yes, you can even respectfully disagree with something the CEO says. 

Final Words

How to impress a CEO in one minute? Since 1 minute isn’t a long time at all, you can impress them in simple ways. You can give a cheery greeting, exude confidence, arrive early, be natural, and listen intently to what they have to say. 

When you have a meeting with them, you’ll be given a lot more time. For this, you have to prepare thoroughly to impress the CEO. 

About Author

Founder of With over 20 years of experience in HR and various roles in corporate world, Jenny shares tips and advice to help professionals advance in their careers. Her blog is a go-to resource for anyone looking to improve their skills, land their dream job, or make a career change.

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