Video: The Effect of When and Where on Your Presentation Success

Posted on Dec 14

I came across this video recently, thanks to  Peter Thomson, and it shows something amazing.

Have a look ……

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What’s it all about and what’s it got to do with your business presentation?

Well as you have seen in Washington DC at a Metro Station, on a cold January morning in 2007, this man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes.

During that time almost 2,000 people walked through the station, most of them on their way to work.

After about 3 minutes, a middle-aged man noticed that there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds, and then he hurried on to meet his schedule.

About 4 minutes later the violinist received his first tip. A woman threw money in the hat and, without stopping, and continued to walk.

At 6 minutes a young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.

At 10 minutes a 3-year old boy stopped, but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The child stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and then he continued to walk, turning his head the whole time. This action was repeated by several other children, but every parent, without exception, moved their children on quickly.

At 45 minutes – the musician played continuously. Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while.

About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32.

After 1 hour he finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed and no one applauded. There was no recognition at all.

No one knew this, but the violinist was actually Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth £2.2 million.

Two days before people paid over $100 each to sit and listen to Bell play the same music in a sell-out concert at a theatre in Boston.

This is a true story.

Joshua Bell, playing incognito in the D.C. Metro Station, was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people’s priorities.

But it also raises several interesting questions about presentations.

1. How does audience expectation affect how the presentation and performance is perceived?

(If they knew it was Joshua Bell would they have stopped to listen rather than rush by?)

2. Do we always  allow enough time to actually take in what is going on so that we can appreciate it fully?

3. To what extent does where and when the presentation is delivered determine the outcome?

And one other possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this:

If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made…

How many other things are we missing as we rush through life?

Until next time,

with best wishes for your success,


Cath Daley Ltd.

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Posted on Dec 14 in Business Pitching, Business Presentations, Communication skills, Marketing, Presentation Skills, Public Speaking, Sales

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