How you say it

Henry David Thoreau said, “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see”.

YO! Sushi was different and visual. It attracted the TV cameras, and I was interviewed.

Instinctively I talked about my previous Rock’n’Roll life, my ambitions for the YO! brand (when we had just one sushi bar) and the ups and downs of my life, including depression and addiction.

It was personal, and it took bottle, but it worked. I didn’t talk about the great food or ambience – that was for others to make up their mind on.

I asked myself, what would make a good story? 

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Journalists like controversial, interesting, maverick stories. They enjoy one-liners and if they were going to help me I was darn well going to help them.

I collected one-liners like the ones in these books, I jotted down sayings and ideas, I took influence wherever I could find it and grew my own style. Basically, I learned. I developed my language and refined stories so they were short and punchy.

That’s how chat show hosts do it, they have a wealth stored inside and when the moment comes along, then the line or the story or the question pops into their head and – hey presto – spontaneity!

If I make a fool of myself, who cares? I’m not frightened by anyone’s perception of me.

Angelina Jolie

Public speaking is often not about what you say but how you say it and the person you are behind the words. You can win friends and influence people more by your demeanour, by your emotional connection than by your logical arguments. If I stand on stage for an hour and talk about different subjects everyone picks up different things.

They may remember little of the content, but a lot of the feeling. I remember the outgoing director of the Institute Of Directors saying that, when he first arrived, he thought that logical argument would win the day, but as he went out at nearly 70, he’d realised that if you could get to people emotionally you would persuade them.