Communication

Communicate like a CEO; don’t waste your time.

I spent five years running a consulting business. I used to work with different types of companies, but never had the opportunity to work with the top management of any of them. Usually, my consulting gigs were limited to marketing specialists. Six years ago, I met a new client — a big corporation that specialized in e-commerce. They asked me to audit their business strategy and create recommendations for their top management. This was the first time I had a chance to work with a well-known CEO.

Since my consulting business was young, I believed the more I did the more value my clients received. It worked great up until that point, and I was already doing six figures in revenue. I used to write long, detailed emails, presentations, and workshops — until the day I wrote an email to the CEO.

The email contained a detailed explanation of what needed to be done in order to grow by 20% per year. The only answer I received was, “TL;TR, Best regards.” They paid me a shitload of money for my consulting services and the only answer I got was “too long to read?”

I grabbed the phone and called him to explain the strategy. But he said, “I’m too busy right now, I need to solve some important issues. You need to reduce your recommendations by 80 percent. The remaining 20 percent needs to be reduced to 5 percent. Then I’d like to listen to what you want to say.” Before hanging up the phone he added, “If you can make a tweet out of it, you’re welcome to do so!”

He was, in some ways, similar to my mentor and professor at the university (who was also a longtime CEO at a big corporation). His standard reply to an email was “YES” or “NO.” I didn’t see a longer email from him during my entire time at the university.

If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it.— Benjamin Franklin

Table of contents | Next essay

Like what you read? Give Dimitri Tarasowski a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.