Brainfood: Speaking out - Mervyn King - Governor of the Bank of England

So after Steady Eddie, would it be a case of Swervin' Mervyn? It would have been nice to report that Sir Edward George's successor would differentiate himself by offering a little flamboyance, but it was not to be. King comes across as a safe pair of hands not given to hyperbole - the very model of prudence. So was he dull? You might have thought so at first sight.

by Khalid Aziz is chairman of spoken communications specialist the Aziz Corporation -
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

He hardly cuts a dash with his recherche spectacles, his genial, open face giving the impression of Mr Mole emerging blinking from his burrow.

The occasion was one of a series of breakfast briefings to commercial organisations that the Bank of England regularly consults with. He started well even before he spoke, going round and shaking the hand of all 60 present. A nice touch. When he spoke, it was not from some dreadful script prepared by a Bank apparatchik. He just talked to us. He wanted us to know what the Monetary Policy Committee was for and how it worked. Why did it need our input? So the nine-strong committee could make useful decisions to avoid the worst fluctuations in rates of interest and inflation.

There had been a sea-change in policy on this. King quoted a predecessor: 'It would be very dangerous to give reasons for our actions.' Now, averred King, they wanted transparency.

For many it was a gentle introduction to thinking in high places. Overall, we came away assured. King no doubt retreated into his burrow thinking: 'Job done.'

Key moment: Apparently, there will be bigger swings in inflation and interest rates over the next five years.

Key lesson: No matter how grand your title, talk to your audience in a conversational style and you'll win them over.

Silver tongue ...

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