Firsts and Lasts each have their own additional reason for being important. It is at your close that you need to place your ‘Call to Action’, thereby getting a reaction and hopefully a result from your presentation. Your opening, meanwhile, is your chance to engage your audience and if you don’t achieve that, anything that follows will be rather meaningless.
For this reason I have long advocated a degree of extra energy up front – be a little more ‘full of beans’, I say, than might feel completely natural and the energy will bounce back between yourself and your audience. Aware that ‘full of beans’ may cause some translation confusion with some of the multi-national business people I coach I have long sought a more universal phrase and I have found one – within the world of magic.
John Archer is a magician and comedian much admired by his peers. He tours extensively with his friend Tim Vine, he was the first person to fool Penn & Teller on their TV show and he lectures regularly at magic conventions. His take on First and Lasts goes like this:
“You come off stage feeling so pumped up you could go back on. You should go on like that”.
Extracted and adapted from Nick Fitzherbert's book
Presentation Magic, published by Marshall Cavendish.
German edition available April 29