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Create a Lasting Impression

Both the start and finish of your presentation are perhaps more important than the main body or content. This is down to the Primacy and Recency effects which we talked about in our storytelling blog, but to refresh your memory, here's a little more detail.

Primacy Effect
Ever heard the phrase "first impressions last"? Of course you have, and it's actually true on a scientific level. Our brain remembers best from the beginning of a learning period, however long that may be, so the first impression almost always sticks. You always remember your important 'firsts,' which is why babies are such incredibly fast learners, simply because they have so many of them.

Using the primacy effect to make a good first impression is great, but you have to start with something memorable, uplifting or motivational. Something that really draws your audience in.

Recency Effect
The recency effect is unsurprisingly the opposite of the primacy effect. You tend to remember things that have happened to you more recently, with more clarity. So you remember your last holiday, what you last ate and the last time you saw a loved one, with more detail than any other occasion. So that thing you were asked to do five minutes ago is still fresh in your mind, but don't stop reading the rest of this post before you go and do it.

Use the recency effect by finishing your presentations or pitches with something you want your audience to remember. Cleverly, having regular pauses, for a breath or to move onto the next point, will give you an additional recency effects and, in turn, additional primacy effects too. So you'll be encouraging your audience to cram even more information in without them realising it.

There is another effect, called the Von Restorff Effect which says that the brain will remember something better if it stands out from the context, particularly a big, loud, multisensory image.

So, if I asked you to think of a man-made structure in Rome, most would answer with the Coliseum and some perhaps with the Vatican. None would answer 'that small house with the red door I saw once in the Piazza Navona'. Our brains remember the unique, the biggest and the best. Indeed if you look back over the highlights of your life, you are looking through your "Von Restorffs".

Now we've given you a few tips on how to plan your story around a major primacy and recency effect (don't forget adding a few smaller ones in if you can) and a Von Restorff wow, or bang, moment but we can show you a lot more at our Perfect Pitch workshop, so give us a call to find out more.

Presentation Skills


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