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Who Goes There? 5 Communication Questions the CIO Must Answer

How does the CIO get employees to cross the bridge from what they are currently doing to what he or she actually wants them to do? According to Dr. Jim Anderson, technology leaders must first pass a test of communication mettle. Today, this test involves answering the five questions of the “communication troll.”

The 5 Conditions of Good Communication

#1 – Can you make them laugh?

One of the best ways to be a good office communicator is to capture attention. To do this you will need a diversion. As Anderson says, even 15 minutes will suffice. In this time it is possible to relax and to have important fact-to-face discussions. 

#2 – Can you truly listen?

Listening is an important function of communication. What’s more, retaining the information you’ve heard is crucial. To improve this skill, Anderson recommends treating each dialogue as preparation for a quiz (like this one) about what the person is saying.

#3 – Can you be untroubled?

Removing the emotional element is a way to avoid jumping to false conclusions about a sore subject. Be sure to navigate such conversations smoothly and without undue confrontation.

#4 – Are you prepared to make them owners?

Helping employees feel as if they somehow “own” a part of the business (which may actually reflect a reality) is a way to make them feel involved. This, in turn, will make them better employees.

#5 – Do you trust them?

Trusting employees is the opposite of micromanaging them. Remember that innovation cannot thrive in a surveillance state.

If you have answered all five questions correctly, your employees should be free to cross the bridge of the communication troll – but one word of advice before you go! Communication must be customized to the individual. Some will want trust, others good listening, but in the end if you do not have good communication skills as a CIO, your employees will never make it to the other side. Read the entire blog at:

About Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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