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I am a Senior Process Analyst in a leading KPO for Insurance. As a reward for my 5 year anniversary with the company, I got an email inviting me for team lunch with senior leadership.

What should I do to make the best of my chance to speak with senior leadership?

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    Hi. Sorry you've been downvoted without explanation. It seems your question is not clear and I don't know exactly what is your problem. Please, read the tour. – Bebs Jun 21 at 7:58
  • I would vote to reopen if you edit question with "these are my career goals: X, Y, Z" – aaaaa says reinstate Monica Jun 21 at 16:34
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Ask your manager what to expect from this, it's doubtful that you're the first person to enjoy this experience.

Don't assume that you're the only one invited to this leadership lunch, there might be other people also having work anniversaries.

Be prepared by knowing what your key achievements have been during your first five years and be prepared to discuss them if and when asked and what you've enjoyed about working for the business. Also, be sure to be able to recognize the senior leaders and know their names.

Obviously, be polite and be neatly dressed. Don't push for promotion or personal advancement here - these leaders probably have lots of lunches with employees and will naturally get tired of meeting ambitious people only serving their own goals.

  • Cant stress that last point enough. Show up and be engaged and present. – jesse Jun 21 at 12:58
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First of all, congratulations on completing the journey with the company and getting the invite. This is a really good opportunity to network with the leadership and leave a good impression.

It would be good to recall and brush up on all the positive accomplishments that you have made in your role(s), especially noting any outstanding/unexpected contributions. The intent is not to brag about them, but to have it ready in your mind if need be.

The upper management/leadership, is generally curious to learn and welcome any positive changes and improvements that are/can be brought about by employees. If such an opportunity do present (if you are asked about your opinion on a work related topic or your past work for e.g.), you'd be better prepared.

Since you have worked with the company for over 5 years, you must be well aware of the business practises and working style. You should have some questions ready regarding the general future directions and growth opportunities (while staying within the confines of your work area) which the company is seeking.

Curiosity about work, passion to make a good impact and a zeal to learn are some of the qualities which never go unappreciated by the upper management. If you have opinions about making positive impact or process improvement in your work domain, make sure you find an opportunity to mention it. After all, the leadership is always looking for good talent, and it's best to find it in the current employee pool.

If you think about it, it may not be about you meeting the leadership team. Such events could very well be a potential opportunity for the leadership to identify and pick talent from the current pool and empower them, so that the company grows as a whole.

  • It is in-fact an opportunity for the leadership to identify and pick talent from the current pool and empower them I don't think we know enough to attribute that sort of goal. It may simply be a tradition in the company to buy lunch for employees who've been there 5 years, full stop. Not everything has a motive. – dwizum Jun 21 at 13:07
  • @dwizum True, it could just well be a tradition. I simply mean to imply that such meetings could be a "potential" opportunity. This could very well be a personal thing for a member from the leadership team! – Nimesh Neema Jun 21 at 13:10
  • Absolutely. It might be a good opportunity, but going in expecting that the leaders are there to head-hunt could put you in the awkward position of coming off as trying way too hard. I upvoted because I think you gave good advice about being prepared for a career focused discussion, but I think it would be a mistake to expect that discussion or push it on your own terms. In the end, you should take cues from the leaders. If they make casual small talk, respond with casual small talk, don't break out into a pitch of some improvement idea or whatever. – dwizum Jun 21 at 13:15
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    @dwizum First of all, thanks for sharing your feedback here. I am just getting started on this site, sharing my 2 cents. I can very much use inputs from much experiences folks here. I have made edits to the answer to make it clear that the OP shouldn't go with any such preconceived notions. Please feel free to edit it, if something is making sense otherwise. (English is not my first language, I'd welcome any edits/feedbacks :)). – Nimesh Neema Jun 21 at 13:18
  • It's a good answer, and welcome to the site! – dwizum Jun 21 at 13:19
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What should I do to make the best of my chance to speak with senior leadership?

Maybe take it for what it is, a congratulatory lunch for you in recognition of your years of service. It doesn't have to be, and probably shouldn't be, anything more than that.

If there are conversations you want to have regarding your career with the company, your ideas for the business, etc., etc. then those are best left for an appropriate time and place. A celebratory lunch isn't that time or place.

Relax, enjoy the food and the company, and don't make it into something it isn't.

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How do I make the best of my chance to speak with senior leadership?

I don't think this question is too broad: OP is asking about speaking in a specific situation where OP is being honored. I admit it is opinion based.

Speak with your boss so you can get a feel for what it will be like.
Ask who will be there, and what it will be like.

Your preparation

Lay of the land:
There is a difference in preparation between the lunch being two senior managers and eighty other people in a loud restaurant, and the lunch being a catered affair with one senior manager per table (you would be expected to talk to a senior manager in the latter case; not in the former).

Either way, prepare in case you speak with a senior manager:
Learn what you can about each of the senior managers. What is their name, their area of control, what are their current projects?
You won't get all of this, but figure out something for each of them - even if it is who reports to them.

Elevator speeches:
Prepare quick information packed sentences for use.
What are your accomplishments?
What are your teams accomplishments?
What can you say good about your boss?

If s/he says 'tell me about yourself' you can use any of them (but not all).

If s/he says, "Hello my name is X" then say, "My name is Nimesh, I work for [boss] in [boss's area] we are under [you - or which Sr. manager also at event]." Then tack one of your elevator sentences at the end, stop talking, and wait for them to ask about something you said or move to the next person.

If (after a pause!) they don't say anything, but don't move to the next person, you can ask a question or make a statement about them like "Someone told me you went to University X. I did too, what was your major?"

Conversation:
If you are in an intimate enough setting that you have a conversation with a senior manager act interested in them and ask questions. But don't ask personal questions unless you're leading to a connection you know the two of you have - "Do you like football?" and "I hear you went to University X" are fine... but "I hear your spouse is a pain in the butt, so is mine!" is not okay (especially if it is true).

In this setting the goal is to gently get them talking about them.
Your goal is to be like a talk show host (specifically "Tonight Show" hosted by Johnny Carson... he almost never said anything about himself and almost never told his own stories).
You goal is not to pepper them with question leaving them with the feeling that they are being interrogated by the police.

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