Communicating Up:  Your Winning Strategy!

Have you ever gotten nervous having to brief your boss?  What about the impromptu meeting?  Or even that time you have to persuade or influence an executive?

To deliver outstanding briefings and influence decisions, I have a structured approach I’ve used for over a decade.  Oddly enough, it’s the CCAR method!  You’ve most likely heard of this method for writing resumes or Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs): Challenge, Context, Action, Result. Well, I’ve maximized this method for verbal communication, as well.  You can tell a full story with this model:  

  • Challenge:  Describe the problem or issue
  • Context: Why is this a problem
  • Action: Steps taken to resolve
  • Result: What is the result

Here is an example:

  • Challenge: Updated policy is required
  • Context: Higher headquarters has included new process for policy
  • Action: Reviewed current policy, coordinated with stakeholders, executed changes within 30 days
  • Result: Updated policy that meets headquarter requirements

I use this method for daily updates, briefings, interaction with my leadership and more.  To note, framing the conversation using CCAR provides great hooks for follow-on questions or more engaging discussion. 

Before your next meeting, prepare your notes using the CCAR method. Your leadership will appreciate the great, succinct details! More importantly, you’ll feel pretty awesome and confident in yourself.

I have 34 years in the federal government and this is my hidden gem!

Give it a try and let me know how it works!

Treva Smith is a federal human resources, diversity and inclusion, and business operations professional, with over 33-years of service.  Treva enjoys advising and mentoring individuals navigate their career paths to meet identified goals. She specializes in career planning and personal branding, and is certified to instruct Business Etiquette through the distinguished Protocol School of Washington and a certified Global Career Development Facilitator through National Employment Counseling Association.

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