Phil Brown takes it to the bridge07 October 2009

Gower sunset

More pearls of wisdom from the lower reaches of the premiership this week as Hull City’s manager tells a
tale or two.

Recalling last Wednesday’s team-walk across the Humber bridge, designed to get some “clarity”, the Tigers’ boss explained his rationale: “It is easier to talk when you are walking than when you are jogging.”

An everyday story of footballing folk – they’re playing rubbish, the manager will try anything. So far, so average. But here’s the emotional bit that makes for a much better story – they come across a woman threatening to jump! Brown explains:

“She was considering her future, shall we say. But we saved this girl. Sweet talk, you can say. In the end she tootled off back to wherever she had come from. I think she saw us and realised ‘OK, at least it’s not that bad.’”

A nice self-deprecating twist to this tale of life, death and football. But all good stories should have a point, too, even when they put us through a bit of drama…

Here’s Phil explaining the idea behind the walk: “The bridge was built with modern-day engineering and based on the fact that when an ill wind blows the bridge becomes stronger. The weight of the wind comes down and makes it sturdier.”

There is an analogy with the club, he told his players. And then, in a masochistic version of getting his retaliation in first, added: “But I can also see others saying, ‘What a load of shite that is.’”

Phil, don’t be so hard on yourself – this is classic ABC – Anecdote-Based Communication. A cast-list of footballers, an avant-garde sports psychologist plus a damsel in distress makes for a great story with a motivational point – and two punchlines! Awesome.

Using my handy 7-slide tutorial you can try ABC for yourself. Never a dull memento.

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