BRAIN FOOD: Speaking out - Simon Woodroffe, Founder, Yo! Sushi

BRAIN FOOD: Speaking out - Simon Woodroffe, Founder, Yo! Sushi - As a devotee of sushi, I was looking forward to hearing from Simon Woodroffe. I was disappointed. True, he followed on from business-speaking greats who included Charles Handy and Tim Waterstone - hard acts to follow. But his presentation, although relaxed, came across as unfocused. Paradoxically, it was heading the right way - long on passion, short on content.

by Khalid Aziz, chairman of spoken communications specialist, TheAziz Corporation - www.azizcorp.com
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

As a devotee of sushi, I was looking forward to hearing from Simon Woodroffe. I was disappointed. True, he followed on from business-speaking greats who included Charles Handy and Tim Waterstone - hard acts to follow. But his presentation, although relaxed, came across as unfocused. Paradoxically, it was heading the right way - long on passion, short on content.

He had taken his cue from the previous speaker - a high-energy passion merchant. Woodroffe maintained the mood with a stream of invective as never-ending as the conveyor belts of morsels that characterise his restaurants. Early on, he invited us to share some philosophy from a chap called Goatie. It took me several seconds to twig that he was actually talking about Goethe.

He also described his philosophy of CANI - Constant And Never Ending Innovation - which I guess is the next version of the Constant And Never Ending Improvement that US management guru Anthony Robbins has banged on about for years.

Afterwards, it was explained that Woodroffe had had to cut his presentation down to just 20 minutes. He had fallen into the classic trap of cutting out all the interesting stuff. So to qualify for a Silver Tongue, more CANI required.

Key moment: He had the plug pulled at the 11th hour on his first site in Soho, which gave him a year to innovate and bring in many of the key Yo! Sushi features we know and love today.

Key lesson: People want to hear interesting stories in some detail. Passion is vital but there has to be substance too.

Silver tongue or foot in mouth?: Foot in mouth.

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