In the Olympic Games, if someone wins by a large margin or loses by a large margin, their race is memorable. We mostly remember those who position first and last. You may remember the brilliant Usain Bolt in the 100m or the courageous Gabriela ‘Gaby’ Anderson-Schiess in the Marathon – where Gaby walked semi-conscious over the last 400m of her Marathon in 5 minutes 44 seconds to finish. We hardly experience or remember those in the middle of the field.
As a Global Conference Speaker, experience tells me that my audience is most likely to recall maybe three or at best, four things from my talk. Firstly, unless my audience applies what I am sharing within the next 12 hours, almost all of my content will be lost to them. Secondly, if I share a valuable idea with my audience that transforms their view of their world, then they may retain the idea. Thirdly, if I share a story that touches them or shifts them emotionally, they are likely to remember the story. If my story illustrates my message really well, they will retain both the story and the message. Finally, if I open in the first minute and close in the last minute with the same message, they will likely remember me and what my message was about.
How does this last piece work? First impressions are the strongest. Last impressions are the second strongest. If the first and last impressions are the same, these effects reinforce one another. This is also something my mother (She was the top student in English and Literature in South Australia) used to tell me when writing essays in High School. She said,” Son, tell them what you are going to tell them. Tell them it. Then tell them what you told them!”
To win in the communication games, positioning first and last, are key.