Your conversations and your vocabulary should be centered on business initiatives like quality improvement, customer loyalty, geographic expansion, channel optimization, etc. Even if what you are really talking about is needing more servers, more database contractors, or a software maintenance upgrade keep those terms within IT and translate your language to the vocabulary of business initiatives.
Be the voice from outside the company. You must keep educating yourself, watching for examples of how others do things, and learning from customers and peers. Bringing the external voice of the real world back into your business sets you up as highly relevant. But make sure there is a point to it. Its not just about sounding smart. Its about bringing high value, real world input into the business that causes positive action, so connect it with what the business cares about before you talk about it.
Today Patty is the CEO of Azzarello Group, a unique services organization that helps companies develop and motivate their top performers, execute their strategies, and grow their business, through talent management programs, leadership workshops, online products & public speaking.