Avoid "hogwash" and "baloney" meetings with lieutenants, vendor advises.

CIO conversations are imperative in order to provide their company with what is needed, Mario Devargas, strategic IT advisory consultant at HP, said in a blog post Thursday.

In the blog, Devargas, who used to be a CIO in the public sector himself, said he's often been told of meetings occurring with CIO lieutenants rather than the CIO because the CIO is too busy. According to Vargas, speaking with the lieutenants is not enough to learn what the organization needs.

"You only wind up knowing what the lieutenant wants, not their boss," he explained. "Meeting with lieutenants is fine in that it helps build and cultivate relationships with individuals who are likely to become CIOs in the future (in other words, networking), but getting in front of the CIO is critical."

There is no "magic potion" for getting the most out of a chat with a CIO, Devargas said. He did say, however, that the most important thing to do when conversing with a CIO is to listen. This means having an open mind, curiosity and a "genuine" desire to learn, while also displaying good intent, he said.

"It is simply a matter of confidence, experience, and the avoidance of hogwash and baloney in the conversation," he wrote. "How often have you seen eyes glaze over when beset by of a constant barrage of techno-speak? Listening empathetically to their issues, concerns, wants, needs, etcetera is essential to be able to provide a genuine, relevant response."

Word choice that is crafted "perfectly" is also key and should point to opportunities for value for the CIO's company, according to Devargas.

"It is very important to not just explain what a product or service does but how it enables achieving a business goal," he said. "Less time is spent explaining the offering; more time is spent explaining how the offering can help the CIO do their job well and help their organization achieve its business objectives and outcomes."

Ultimately, CIOs - just like people in general - are interested in doing deals with people they "know, trust and value", Devargas added.

By Scharon Harding, Channelnomics.com