Welcome Bernard Byrne, AIB’s new media star

As I’ve alluded to previously, there’s few good corporate interviewees in Ireland – especially on radio and particularly when it comes to the heads of major businesses. Over trained and tightly scripted they present a bland version of themselves that’s characterless and inoffensive. The emphasis seems “get this over quick and don’t screw up”: it makes for eminently forgettable broadcasting.

So that’s why it was a pleasure to recently listen to a corporate Big Beast who was fluent, forthright and sounding utterly at home in the medium.

Step forward Bernard Byrne, CEO of AIB Bank.

Interviewed on Friday, August 7 on the Business section of RTE’s top rated Morning Ireland radio programme and outlining the latest batch of positive results from the Bank, Bernard’s tone exuded the type of confidence of someone who’s completely in control and utterly familiar with both the top line and minutiae of the key facts that need to be communicated. Answers were delivered briskly and professionally and – please take note other CEO’s out there – there was no avoiding or ducking tricky questions.

Contentious issues such as the mortgage variable rates were responded to directly and with aplomb.

An impressive performance by any standards and I look forward to hearing more from Mr Byrne (so long as any handlers don’t stifle his natural competence as a communicator).

This particular interview is a perfect illustration of the advice I give to media and presentation coaching clients. Namely, that my role is definitely not to break them down and re-form them into look-a-like, sound-a-like Stepford characters.

Instead, it’s about taking a collaborative approach, helping them to present the best version of themselves as skilled competent, business leaders and working together to create a narrative they’re comfortable with delivering – whatever the format.

Achieve that and you’re on to a winner.