From VPoE to C-Suite: Enhancing Executive Communication - Interview with Laurie Rose Schloff

From VPoE to C-Suite: Enhancing Executive Communication - Interview with Laurie Rose Schloff

Effective communication is often the make-or-break factor in professional success, particularly for those aiming to transition from a Vice President of Engineering (VPoE) role to the C-suite. In a recent podcast episode, I had the pleasure of interviewing Laurie Rose Schloff, an executive communication coach with decades of experience.

Our conversation delved into the nuances of executive communication, offering valuable insights for tech leaders aspiring to higher executive roles. Here are some key takeaways from our discussion.

Video Interview

You can watch the video on YouTube or below:

The Importance of Communication Skills

One of the central themes Laurie emphasized was the critical role communication skills play in executive success. "Communication is the bridge that connects your technical expertise to the strategic goals of your organization," Laurie noted. She highlighted that while technical skills are essential, the ability to convey ideas effectively is what truly propels leaders forward.

Tailoring Your Message

Laurie stressed the importance of adjusting your communication style based on your audience. She pointed out that technical professionals often get bogged down in details that may not be relevant to their listeners. "The ability to use what I call a headline to say the main point without getting into too much detail is crucial," she explained. This approach ensures that the message is clear and impactful, regardless of the audience's technical background.

Preparation is Key

When it comes to interviews and presentations, Laurie advocates for thorough preparation. "How you come across in the interview matters more than anything," she stated. Laurie recommends practicing responses to potential questions and focusing on delivering concise, impactful answers. "You want your answers to be in the neighborhood of 30 seconds to a minute," she advised, underscoring the importance of brevity and clarity.

Embracing Virtual Presence

In today's remote working environment, mastering virtual presence is essential. Laurie provided practical tips for improving your virtual communication skills, such as looking directly into the camera to create a sense of connection and ensuring proper lighting. "You want to make sure that in that half-hour, the interviewer is with you, that you come across professionally," she emphasized.

The Strategic Leader

Laurie also discussed the concept of being a strategic leader. She explained that executives need to move beyond their technical expertise and adopt a broader perspective. "Start a sentence with the main thing I see here is... or the biggest challenge is...," she suggested. This approach helps convey a strategic mindset, which is crucial for executive roles.

The Power of Self-Awareness

Another key point Laurie highlighted was the importance of self-awareness in communication. She encouraged leaders to seek feedback on their communication strengths and areas for improvement. "Identify three things you like about your communication and three things you could change," she recommended. This self-awareness helps leaders continuously refine their communication skills.

Building Charisma

Charisma can significantly enhance a leader's impact. Laurie shared that charisma involves conveying energy and passion. "You can't see someone's intellect, their character, or their soul. You can only go on what they say, how they sound, and how they look," she remarked. By focusing on these aspects, leaders can cultivate a charismatic presence.

Practical Steps for Improvement

Laurie provided several actionable steps for improving communication skills:

  1. Practice Regularly: Treat communication practice like a workout. Dedicate time each day to refine your skills.
  2. Seek Feedback: Ask peers, leaders, and direct reports for feedback on your communication.
  3. Invest in Learning: Take courses or work with a coach to develop your communication and leadership skills.
  4. Prepare Thoroughly: For important presentations or interviews, practice extensively and anticipate potential questions.


Laurie Rose Schloff's insights underscore the importance of effective communication in advancing from a VPoE to a C-suite role. By honing your communication skills, embracing self-awareness, and adopting a strategic mindset, you can enhance your executive presence and achieve your career aspirations.

For a deeper dive into Laurie Rose Schloff's expert advice, watch the full episode of our podcast. You'll gain practical tips and strategies to elevate your communication and leadership skills.

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Michal Juhas

Michal Juhas