Posts Tagged ‘Ciaran O Raghallaigh’

Why You Should Pay Attention To The Games Played After The Game.

May 24, 2022

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In the Times, where I worked as a rugby correspondent for a fistful of years, and many other newspapers, the sports department is sometimes known – tongue firmly in cheek – as the ‘toy department’.

The correspondents in politics and news may look down their noses at the folks who fill the back pages, but there was no doubting the importance of the toy department.

For many, the sports pages are a reason to buy a newspaper, and the coverage in that section will be treated by many with more import than the tales of philandering gerrymanderers who populate the early pages.

Arrigo Sacchi, the famous ex-Milan and Italy coach, once said that sport is ‘the most important of the less important things‘, and he wasn’t wrong.

When you think of a crisis in ‘public life’, you’d be forgiven for thinking immediately of a political scandal.

But for the highest crises-to-personality ratio, you’d struggle to look beyond professional sport.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp during the press conference at Anfield, Liverpool.

How many CEOs (football managers) earning millions are dumped in a number of weeks or months each year? How many CEOs need to front up to media interviews in the double figures each week? How many CEOs are heroes to millions and demons to millions more?

When it’s framed that way, you begin to see that the “toy department” has a coalface that makes it a hell of a place to hone your PR skills!

Next time you’re watching Jurgen Klopp or Jose Mourinho, consider how they speak – often off the cuff – on behalf of themselves, their players and their fans, with a skill that many CEOs would fail to ever attain.

Think of how they send subtle (and not so subtle) messages to their players while they speak, while remaining conscious of what the journalists need in return. Consider how they speak to the fans, while being cautious not to get caught up in something that could create an unwanted headline.

Some managers will intimidate – Giovanni Trappatoni was well versed in whipping out his CV when he wanted you to cower – while some will talk and talk and talk and talk…..to avoid answering your question directly.

Former Ireland rugby head coach Joe Schmidt loved to reel off the entire opposition team lineups to eat into the sparse minutes offered up, while Brian Kerr would wander off on a tangent and it felt like landing a great white to pull him back on track.

Lessons from the “toy department” may not be studied that seriously, but it’s time for that to change.

Alex Ferguson, the legendary ex-Manchester United boss – was tapped by Harvard Business School for his leadership and management skills, so maybe now the rest of us should pay more attention.

The next time Klopp, or Pep, or Cody, or Farrell speak – take notes. Take more notes when they don’t speak!

Ciarán

Ciarán Ó Raghallaigh is a Senior Account Manager, and part of the Media Training Team at Fuzion Communications, with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland.


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