ABC

Wolves, Greyhounds, Rabbits and Mick McCarthy28 May

Fog over Mancs 2

Welcome to Bizlike – a practical approach to having it away with words. In the nicest possible way.

Our homepage gives you an overview of Anecdotal-based Communication (ABC). It tells you all you need to turn a story into a vehicle for a specific message. You can use it to jazz up your patter, spice up your pitches and schmooze up your clients.

You’ll also find it helps you by providing you with a framework for the critical analysis of other people’s stories.

So for example, lets take one of Mick McCarthy’s favourites. He told it back in February when they christened him the new Eric Cantona and the Maharishi of Molyneux and it came up again in this Saturday’s Guardian Sport (18th April 2009).

Let’s examine the Bard of Barnsley’s technique step-by-step:

“There’s a greyhound going through the field and he sees a rabbit.” This begins the story by establishing the characters. In my tutorial, I liken this to the fletching or vanes of an arrow – the characters give a story “wings”.

“The rabbit gets up and starts running.” The storyline continues. ABC methodology likens this to the shaft of the arrow – straight, logical and linear – designed to make it easy to recall and, critically for the proliferation of the tale, easy to retell.

“The greyhound fancies a bit of snap but the rabbit fancies his life. Who runs the hardest?” Now it gets complicated. The feelings we experience from contemplating the absolutes of life and death (echoing Bill Shankley’s (in)famous quip) combine with our curiosity about what happens next. The story contains another crtitical characteristic – emotional content – it has drama and we want to know how it ends. My tutorial likens this to a red, bloody beating heart.

“The rabbit”. Final ingredient – the twist. How unexpected is this? The more the better for a great anecdote. So here, a rather banal conclusion to this tale from the animal kingdom, just like Cantona’s enigmatic utterance, is designed to bring us to the final ingredient – the point.

In ABC terms – the tip of the arrow pierces the beating heart and turns magically into a tattoo. An unexpected twist.. In McCarthy’s story, Wolves would struggle to beat Plymouth. The greyhound might not catch the rabbit.

Saturday 19th April – McCarthy prepares for the match by “varnishing his garage at 6am” and Wolverhampton Wanderers beat QPR and are promoted to the Premier League. The greyhound caught enough rabbits for automatic promotion. Good tale, happy ending.

If you’re telling a story, for fun or profit, a 10 minute investment of your time could win you promotion to the premier league. Anecdote-based communication works. Ask Mick.

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