There is a previous entry on my blog called Delivering a presentation where I explain the main parts of a standard presentation, so I invite you to click your way there if you would like to read more about it.
The aim of this entry is actually to draw your attention to the beginning and end of a presentation. How we should start and end our presentation cannot be neglected during the preparation stage. However interesting our talk may be, we cannot expect our audience to walk out of the room remembering all we have said. Therefore, our message needs to be clear and simple (and by ¨simple¨ I don't mean ¨simplistic¨); we must make sure that they walk out of the room with the right message and not, say, with the lovely slides we have chosen to enlighten our talk, or an anecdote we have given them and whose purpose is simply to entertain.
There are different techniques we can use to make our start. A personal anecdote, an outstanding fact, a quotation, a catchy question, a joke; these are some of the ways experienced presenters use to start off, with the hope that the audience will immediately feel they are about to listen to something well worth their time.
Likewise, we need to think of a good ending so that our audience will walk out of the room with a fulfilled feeling; the sound bite.
Patricia Ryan, an experienced English teacher in Arabic countries, delivers a remarkable talk with interesting food for thought. Her talk is called DON'T INSIST ON ENGLISH and you can watch it with subtitles in different languages apart from English. This is another good feature of Ted Talks, the talks that have been uploaded to their site can be watched with subtitles in different languages eventually.
I would like to draw your attention to the humourous way in which Ms Ryan begins her talk. She actually turns what could seem a disadvantage at first hand into an advantage. She makes fun of her age and her looks to distract the audience from a potential preconception regarding her own appearance, and she certainly succeeds. Just watch her do it!
I will not discuss the content of her talk in this entry but there is certainly a lot to say about it. Nor will I discuss her choice of slides or body language. There is no other reason that my desire to stick myself to the aim of this post.
Finally, and with regard to the way she ends her talk I will end my post by eliciting her sound bite: MIND YOUR OWN LANGUAGE, USE IT TO SPREAD GREAT IDEAS!