How to become a Chief Listening Officer

Do you enjoy creeping? Do your Spidey senses tingle when you know someone’s subtweeting you? Then you might like this job, which entails lurking on social media to see what’s being said about your company or brand. You have to respond to complaints, feedback and discussions, but that’s just so Olivia Pope, isn’t it? #itshandled

What is a CLO?

This person is the air-traffic controller for social media and other content channels. He/She stays on top of breaking news, gossips and chats and disseminates information while engaging the audience with its brand.

Typically one rung higher than a social media manager, CLOs closely monitor social platforms and conversations to keep an eye (and ear!) on what’s being said about their company or brand. Their work enables a fast response to any and all complaints, issues, or misinformation

Why Is It Awesome?

This job didn’t exist 10 years ago. According to Forbes, the first-ever Chief Listening Officer position was created in 2010. And, it’s on the rise. As more organizations rely on social media and online channels for market research, customer service and consumer marketing, the position of a CLO will only become more important.


A Chief Listening Officer has to be a master of a wide variety of skills — public relations, communications, marketing and business. Hey, guess what? We just listed some of the Master’s degrees that would make you qualified to be a Chief Listening Officer. Generally, a master’s degree is a minimum requirement, such as business administration, marketing or human resources. Additional experience in the social media and behavioral sciences would also be helpful for this career.

Every CEO Must Be A Chief Listening Officer

We’ve all had bosses who didn’t communicate well, making it much harder to understand what they wanted and all the more challenging to do our own jobs well. Here’s the truth, though: Often, CEO spends little time to seek out the thoughts of customers or employees who are farther down the chain of command. Paradoxically and dangerously, the sheer time demands of serving in a leadership role can undermine the overall effectiveness as leaders (Too bad many leaders still choose to neglect).

As A. G. Lafley, the former CEO of Procter & Gamble said, every CEO needs to be the chief listening officers in the organizations–every day. There is ample reason to listen more to the consumers and employees than the CEO who keeps promising a turnaround — especially amidst a long string of large quarterly losses and declining sales.

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