Is it really the responsibility of talkers to get listeners to hear them?

What CIOs Should Do If Nobody Is Listening To Them

Is it really the responsibility of talkers to get listeners to hear them?
Is it really the responsibility of talkers to get listeners to hear them?
Image Credit: waiam cia

As a CIO, communication is a key part of your job as you try to share the importance of information technology. You really need people to pay attention to what you are telling them to do. However, in this day and age it all too often seems as though the people that you are talking to are not hearing you. Studies that have been done have revealed that the people that we are talking to are tuning out our conversations about 30% of the time. How can the person with the CIO job get people to listen to them?


Is It Really The Fault Of The Talker?

So here’s an interesting point for you as the person in the CIO position to consider. Do you think that the reason that people may not be paying attention to you when you are talking to them has something to do with you? When you are talking with someone, are you droning on and on? Is a conversation with you more of a monolog than a dialog? Is it possible that you are missing the cues that should be telling you that the person that you are talking with has become disengaged from the conversation?

So what are CIOs doing wrong here? More often than not the problem is that we are too active. When we start to talk to somebody, we’ll get on a roll. We’ll be talking and we’ll forget to check with the person that we’re talking with to see if they are still paying attention. Likewise, the person that we are talking with may start to feel objectified and believe that we don’t really care if they listen to us or not.

The solution to this problem is to get CIOs to change how they talk with other people. What we need to start to do is something that is called “connected talking”. In order to accomplish this we are going to have to start by being aware of who we are talking with and understanding that they bring value to the conversation that we are having with them. We need to take the time to pay some attention to what it feels like to be listened to. We are also going to have to find ways to become grateful that people are willing to listen to us. Finally, we have to start caring for the person that we are talking with and make sure that we don’t overwhelm them or permit them to lose interest in the conversation.


How We Can Get People To Listen To Us

If CIOs want to get people to start to pay attention to them when they are talking, then they are going to have to make some changes in how they talk to people. The first thing that needs to be done is that CIOs have to check with people before they start a conversation with them. Don’t just start a conversation. Instead, first ask the other person if they have time to talk with you. The way that you ask this will give them a clue as to the importance of what you want to talk with them about.

When you are talking with someone, you need to be very clear about what your needs are. Are you asking them to do something for you, are you asking for their advice, or do you just need someone to listen to you? When you let the other person know what the conversation is supposed to be about, you help both of you stay focused. During the conversation you need to keep reminding yourself how much you appreciate that the other person is taking the time to listen to you. If you can do this, then you will feel as though they are doing a better job of hearing you.

CIOs need to keep in mind that when they are in a conversation with someone, there are two people involved. What this means is that we need to slow down how fast we are talking. During the conversation we need to make sure that we maintain eye contact with the person that we’re talking with. We also have to pay attention when the other person says something and we have to allow them to participate in the conversation. If the other person seems to be struggling to pay attention to you, stop the conversation and ask them if something is wrong or if they’d prefer to speak at some other time.


What All Of This Means For You

A critical part of the job of being CIO is communication. We need to be able to talk with people and ensure that they understand what we are trying to tell them. That’s why it can be so frustrating when we detect that people are not paying attention to us when we are talking to them. This is something that happens in a lot of different conversations. As CIOs we need to be able to detect when this is happening and we need to know what changes we have to make to prevent it in the first place.

What’s interesting is when a listener is not paying attention to a CIO, it may actually be the CIO’s fault. If we just charge into a conversation and start talking on and on, then we may end up missing the cues that the person that we’re talking with has become disengaged. The problem is that CIOs can just start talking and we forget to check in with the person that we’re talking with. We need to change how we talk with people. We need to start to practice what is called “connected talking”. Before we start a conversation with someone, we first need to check with them to see if they are willing to talk with us. We also have to be very clear as to why we want to talk with them. During the conversation we need to pay attention to the person that we are talking with and if they stop listening, we need to find out why.

The good news is that CIOs can do a better job of communicating with everyone. What we need to start to do is to pay more attention to the people that we are talking with. We need to make sure that they have the time to talk with us and then we need to take steps to make sure that they feel as though they are a part of the conversation. If we can make these changes to how we talk to people, then we can start to do a better job of communicating with everyone that we come into contact with.


– Dr. Jim Anderson Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Department Leadership Skills™


Question For You: What is the best way for a CIO to determine if people are really paying attention to what they are telling them?


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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Let’s face it, if there is one thing that nobody in the IT department likes to do each day it is log into their computer / app / smart phone. In order to do this successfully, we need to be able to remember any one of a multitude of user names and passwords that seem to be changing all the time. We struggle to create passwords that are strong enough. Then we struggle to remember what they are when we need to enter them. What’s even worse is if we stay logging in for a long time, then there is a good chance that we’re going to be asked to log back in eventually. This sure seems like a problem regarding the importance of information technology that the person with the CIO job could solve.

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