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Twitter as a CIO's Executive Coach

The 140 Character Mindset

Busy CIOs might consider Twitter as their new executive communication coach. Don't scoff. It can be a highly effective teacher of powerful communication strategies.  And a cost-effective alternative to executive coaches!

What makes Twitter a great coach? It's all about developing the succinct Twitter mindset.  Concise communication can drive IT projects forward, gain mind share and foster a greater understanding of the value of IT.

Best of all, you don't have to actually post on Twitter to become a better communicator. Just reading good tweets can teach IT leaders impressive ways to package their communication.

A Time and Place for Twitter-Speak

Twitter's character limit is obviously not the best choice for all types of executive communication. For example, creating your vision statement or designing a new data center  initiative dictates much more than 140 characters. But in terms of succinctly communicating that vision or data center goal, well, you can't beat lessons from the world of Twitter.

Here are five best practices Twitter can teach CIOs about communicating verbally as well as when writing.

Communication Lessons from Twitter

1. Net it out. The 140 character-limit forces us to think in terms of a main point. Make it, edit non-essential details, and move on.

2. Offer value-rich content. Have something worthwhile to say. If you're not informing, inspiring or motivating, hold off on communicating until you have a clear purpose.

3. Be conversational. No one likes to read or hear an IT executive droning on in geek-speak. Talk like a real human being and have a compelling conversation about the benefits IT brings to the masses. Limit the speeds and feeds and features and functions jargon and explain in simple terms the beauty of your solution.

4. Use precise words. Twitter forces us to rethink the power of words and phrases and chose a precise vocabulary. "Align our IT strategy to customer priorities." UGH! How about, "Think like the enduser."

5. Listen to your audience. It's not always about what you want to say. Think about what your audience needs to hear.

6. Don't tweet people to death! That might mean cutting back on the amount of your corporate communications. Keep the IT channels of communication open, but don't overload.

Practice Makes Perfect

Learning to communicate in a succinct and powerful way takes practice. Start with your emails, move on to voice mail, then your blog. Once you feel comfortable, roll-out Twitter-speak into your meetings and presentations. Concise CIO-speak makes for employees who can better understand and execute your plans!

P.S. All the sentences in this post are under 140 characters!

More Stories By Loraine Antrim

Loraine Antrim is co-founder of Core Ideas Communication, a communications consulting agency focused on presentation development and media training for C-suite executives. Core Ideas enables executives to package and communicate relevant and compelling messages in their presentations and interviews. Loraine's expertise is killing butterflies. You know, butterflies: the feeling in your stomach before you have to present or speak in public. Loraine works with executives to create a powerful story, memorable messages and an authentic delivery style. Confidence kicks in, and butterflies scatter. Nice work killing butterflies! You can contact Loraine at: manager at coreideas.com