After days of media frenzy and ecstatic speculation over the affair of John Terry, ‘legend’, and Vanessa Perroncel, serial lover of England footballers, it came as no surprise that Fabio Capello was the man who sorted it, seemingly without difficulty, doing so in a mere 12 minutes.
Why were we not surprised since few of us actually know him or what his views are?
First of all is his iconic body language. Upright, crossed arms, trademark spectacles and a jutting chin, the like of which last seen on Popeye. As one writer put it, “every small phrase of body language, every facial gesture speaks of professional indignation”. Not since Margaret Thatcher has any high profile person radiated such certainty.
Second, is his power of silence, speaking only when absolutely necessary and then with brevity resisting the need to embellish, to justify. In that 12 minutes with Terry, he only spoke for a few of them. Compare this with his garrulous predecessor Maclaren whose only memorable gesture involved sheltering under an umbrella.
Interestingly on judgement day both protagonists advised, one by the ubiquitous Max the other by an ex-News of the World editor, tried damage limitation with carefully chosen photographs projecting ‘optimum’ body language. The normally sultry Perroncel shown demure, grieving, the normally snarling Terry heroic and saintly. Sadly, neither learnt that silence can be golden.
Lessons from Capello for interviewees or pitchers? Talking too much, not listening to the question, gabbling are common mistakes. So too is forgetting that the way you sit, stand or move will be sending a signal of confidence, or not.