So I anchored CNBC’s coverage of the ECB Rate Decision Special show last week.
This involved saying “Welcome to CNBC! Jean-Claude Trichet is speaking let’s listen in,” then tweeting snippets of the proceedings to my Twitter followers, of whom there are literally dozens, including several who think I’m a librarian in Massachusetts, who happens to share my name.
In itself this is a simple task and I’m faintly embarrassed to admit I actually get paid to do it. The tougher element though is deciphering what the devil he’s saying.
He did say “monitor very closely,” but he did not say anything about being “vigilant.” Apparently that is code for... the ECB might raise rates not next month, but the month after.
Then Trichet produced a white hanky and started dabbing at his nose. My twittersphere friends and I (under the pseudonym of @BeccyMeehan) speculated this might be a further layer of code, but it turned out the poor chap does actually have a cold.
On a similar note, I recently went to RBS to interview CEO Stephen Hester about his results. I was handed a presentation from which I learned “good jaws drive improved profitability” and what’s more “re-establishing profitability - improving jaws.” Hmmm.
I thought I was just being dim, until later that day I interviewed a Very Successful City Big Cheese, who shall remain nameless, but you WILL know. As he flicked through the slides during the commercial break he turned to me and said “I’ve no idea what all this jaws stuff is about - I don’t believe anyone can make head nor tail of this lot there’s just so much info.”
I’m all for transparency and full-information, but imagine a world in which we all just speak like normal human beings, get to the point and then shut up.
Which brought me back to thinking about Twitter. Not necessarily the natural habitat of normal human beings, but still. How about we all try and pare down the most important messages into 140 characters.
For instance, Jean-Claude Tweet-chet (sorry) could post; “Inflation is still rising. We might raise rates again, but we’re not sure. We’re happy Portugal asked for help. I have a cold today.”
Ryanair’s CEO Michael O’Leary is not necessarily the prime example of a normal human being either, but he does specialize in getting to the point. This wonderful quote is 100 percent clear in meaning and would definitely fit into a tweet.
"You’re not getting a refund so **** off”.