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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: How to open and close presentations? - Presentation lesson from Mark Powell

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to give a successful presentation they

say you need to have a good beginning a

good ending and keep them close together

and sure enough research shows that

audiences remember the first and last

few minutes of a presentation long after

they've forgotten most of what was said

in the middle psychologists call this

the primacy recency effect but you might

prefer to think of your opener and your

clothes as two bookends holding up your

talk to do their job they both need to

be strong now starting off by saying

good morning introducing yourself

thanking your audience for coming

apologizing for a small technical

problem with your audio visuals and

asking if people can hear you at the

back is clearly not a strong opening but

neither is this I want to talk to you

today about the kind of world we in the

business community are passing on to the

next generation what's wrong with it

it's short direct and boring let's see

how it might have sounded environmental

degradation a declining economy

crippling taxes chronic diseases a life

expectancy shorter than that of their

parents and $30,000 of debt for every

man woman and child this is the

nightmare world we're passing on to our

kids now that's a good opening watch how

these presenters gain their audience's

attention right at the start

good morning sometime in the early 1980s

a business traveler called a low-cost

carrier called people Express to reserve

a flight he was kept on hold for so long

he thought to himself either this

airline is incredibly busy or incredibly


needless to say the flight was never

booked and people Express went out of

business in 1987 the name of the

business traveler was Richard Branson

who recognizing a great business

opportunity when he saw it went on to

launch Virgin Atlantic airlines and the

rest of course is history but my

question to you is just how bad does

your customer service have to be to turn

a potential client into a competitor

there was a great book published a few

years back called the wisdom of crowds

by James Surowiecki in it he refers to

the popular TV quiz show

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire which I'm

sure you've all seen as you may know

contestants can get help with questions

they can't answer by either phoning a

friend or asking the audience and as you

might expect calling an intelligent

friend helps sixty-five percent of the

time in fact but here's the interesting

thing the studio audience isn't selected

on the basis of their intelligence so

how often you think they're able to

answer the question correctly

twenty-five percent

33 percent the answer is ninety-one

percent of the time

statistically that's just amazing and it

proves the power of teams I want to say

a few things about winning did you know

that in all the major golf tournaments

over the last 25 years

the margin of victory has been less than

three strokes in Formula one motor

racing so far this season the average

time difference between first and second

place has been just over seven and a

half seconds and remember last summer

olympics in the men's 100 meters

butterfly the American swimmer worn by

one hundredths of a second

one hundredths it was so close that the

Serbian team who won silver even filed a

protest the

these days in business as in sport the

difference between winning and losing is

practically zero but not quite in every

case the winner has that vital edge the

figures I'm going to show you this

afternoon demonstrate that we too have

that marginal but vital edge from your

audience's point of view the end of your

talk might be even more important than

the beginning these are the words they

will be left with after you stop if

you've ever been to a firework display

you'll know that the biggest brightest

fireworks are usually saved for the end

this doesn't mean you have to finish

with a bang but you do want to leave a

lasting impression

watch these presenters clinch the

clothes to summarise whenever we have

offered bonuses to incentivize our staff

in sales HR and manufacturing divisions

productivity has increased in some cases

quite dramatically but as we saw in R&D

introducing pay by performance has had

precisely the opposite effect

incentivized research units were on

average only half as productive as those

working without added incentives what

are we to make of this well quite simply

it seems bonuses really do make you work

harder when your job is pretty routine

but when your job is creative incentives

just stress you out and actually make

you less creative not all clearly we all

need to go away and think of a fresh

initiative for motivating our most

mission-critical employees thanks a lot

as you know it's a tradition in Asia to

quote words of wisdom so I'm going to be

totally predictable and do the same

an ancient philosopher once said a man

who chases two rabbits catches neither

in our research been chasing too many

rabbits for far too long it's time to

stop to prioritize if there's one thing

we now need to do in a word it's this

focus thank you very much

at the preparation stage a lot of

presenters like to create their clothes

first so they know where they're going

and then work backwards finishing up

with an attention-grabbing opening but

whichever way you plan your talk make

sure you always give priority to the

first and last three minutes

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