A few times in the past few years we’ve been on a call with a CEO.
A CEO call generally has three objectives:
1) Gain support for the community project. This requires an instant summary of the community’s value in a sentence. A simple, easy, metaphor helps here. Don’t dive into the weeds much beyond how it helps customers and how it helps the organization. You should also take time to identify and alleviate any concerns (prepare responses to the most likely concerns).
2) Identify where the CEO can support the project. There are two levels to this. The first is to unblock internal problems. Some internal conflicts can only be resolved at the senior level and the CEO can ensure the community is made a priority internally. The second is to galvanize support for the community via participating in AMAs with customers, responding to the occasional questions, writing blog posts, and scheduling time once a quarter to talk to superusers/top members.
3) Get feedback and advice to ensure it’s a success. The CEO (should) know the company better than you do. What are the blind spots you’re missing? Where else can the community help? What else are you thinking about? (p.s. Asking for advice is also a good way to gain support).
And, of course, if you only have half an hour, prepare your key points and questions in advance.
p.s. This works as well for any senior leader.