Many people had the opportunity to hear Akio Morita speak, both in English and Japanese, and his way of speaking built a reputation for being both persuasive and logical.
“As a CEO I learned a great deal from Mr. Morita, especially concerning speeches in English. The first thing I learned was not to look at a script. You can’t sway people if you are reading lines, and this was an opinion of Akio’s--that a speech cannot have persuasive power if the speaker is looking at a manuscript. It is better to rehearse prior to the speech by practicing on a secretary or anyone that is around, making sure that you are able to get your message across before approaching the actual performance.” (Current CEO of Sony, Nobuyuki Idei.)
Former Sony CEO, Norio Ohga, was actually persuaded by Akio to join the company. After gradating in the Arts, he set out on the road of becoming a baritone singer but was told that he could just drop in to Sony occasionally, working on a more casual basis. “Then when I was 29, I took a 5-day boat trip with Akio across the Atlantic, from Southampton in England to New York. Akio told me that to truly understand business it would take 10 years, and so if I started now, it would take all of my 30’s. That really made me think and, sure enough, in the end I was persuaded [to commit to Sony].”
If you analyze Akio’s speeches, he uses a 3-point method. He explains by showing the facts rather than feelings or personal viewpoints, so that the people listening can arrive at the conclusion themselves. He uses clear language that anyone can understand; and he stays firmly focused.
A former member of Sony’s sales force tells the following story. “It is a little different from speechmaking, but a long time ago we were carry a massive backlog of transistor radios. Akio got on the phone, looking for someone to take them. He didn’t say anything to them about taking them off our hands, he just explained, “we have these radios in stock, this is how you use them and this is what they do”. Sure enough, the customer said he’s give them a try”.
The customer didn’t feel the goods were being forced on him and felt positive about being able to sell them. As many Japanese are thought to be poor at speaking, they would do well to learn these techniques.
From:The Sayings of Akio Morita, published by Sony Magazines.