How to Talk Like a CIO

Being a CIO means you should speak like a CIO.  What exactly does a CIO sound like?  According to an article by Lisa Vaas, the most basic way to sound and appear like a CIO is to be the person to act or speak first.  Vaas suggests that the ability to step out of the crowd before anyone else is what makes a manager different from any other member of the general staff.  Also, it shows that you are not afraid to be the first to address any situation.  Not having to rely on the opinions of others to form your own opinion is sure to make you stand out as CIO material:

Being the first to respond means you’re not waiting to see how everyone else responds.  Even if you’re the first to mutter “Good idea,” [Leil] Lowndes (author of How to Talk to Anyone) says, speaking up first is “proof positive you’re a person who trusts his or her own instincts.”

That self-confidence is the sign of a leader.  For those who dream of climbing the corporate ladder, it makes sense to analyze the speaking and comportment styles of the people who’ve already done it.  In IT, you must ask yourself:  How do CIOs talk, and what do they talk about?  How does their manner of speaking set them apart as C-worthy?  Can a grunt learn to growl like a CIO?

There’s no magic fairy dust to turn you into a CIO.  There are, however, communication traits that distinguish good leaders.  </em>

In addition to acting quickly, Vaas offers some other communications tips to sound like a CIO.  She notes tech jargon should be avoided unless someone in a higher position uses it first.  Otherwise, you run the risk of being seen as a tech person rather than as a company leader.  Furthermore, when you use too much technical language, you run the risk of using a term you do not fully understand.  The last thing you want when trying to impress is to look like you don’t know what you’re talking about.

Your listening skills can be equally as important as your speaking skills when trying to sound like a CIO.  As Vaas puts it, sometimes you just need to “learn to shut up.”  Believe it or not, people will notice a good listener in the workplace.  Another part of being a good listener is recognizing when someone has stopped listening to you.  Overloading someone with information will not win you any awards, so learning that perfect balance between listening and speaking is key.

Finally, in order to sound like a CIO, you must learn to be the bearer of bad news without having people hate you for it.  Being able to convey both positive and negative messages without becoming the enemy is important for anyone wanting to step into a leadership role.  Again, there is no one direct way to sound like the most experienced and respected of CIOs.  However, learning to speak first, listen well, and handle bad news with grace will set you apart from any other staff members.

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