BRAIN FOOD: Matters for the mind to chew on - Speaking out Peter Job - Chief executive, Reuters

BRAIN FOOD: Matters for the mind to chew on - Speaking out Peter Job - Chief executive, Reuters - Peter Job is a rare journalist who got a taste for management and became very good at it. Joining Reuters as a graduate trainee in 1963, he rose to become it

by KHALID AZIZ, chairman of spoken communications specialist theAziz Corporation - www.azizcorp.com
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

Peter Job is a rare journalist who got a taste for management and became very good at it. Joining Reuters as a graduate trainee in 1963, he rose to become its chief executive 28 years later. He may be retiring next month, but with various non-executive directorships to his name, here was a man who might excite his audience of investor relations pros by speaking from both sides of the fence - media and corporate.

He got off to a fine start. Fear is always a great motivator and there's nothing like talking about scary US regulations that could make UK firms more vulnerable to grab the audience's attention. These are just 'one of the rocks which are strewn in the path of the modern investor relations manager', to use Job's metaphor.

He also had the answer. 'What we need,' he explained, 'is more openness, more frequent briefings and briefings of analysts and media together - one story, one audience.' This means that CEOs need better training in speaking effectively - at which point I warmed to him! And to reinforce this, he told a story against himself showing just how easy it is to get it wrong in front of a probing journalist. I couldn't possibly reveal it here.

He finished on a strong note, combining a call to action with the rule-of-three oratorical device. What his audience needed was 'better, performance, better training and better skills'. Just the way to top off a keynote speech.

Key moment: The laugh he got noting that it was the finance sector, the highest paid, that tells everyone else how to regulate managers' pay.

Key lesson: Training is key to effective communication.

Silver tongue or foot in mouth?

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