A talk about motivation

A talk about motivation

Listen to the talk about motivation to practise and improve your listening skills.

Do the preparation task first. Then listen to the audio and do the exercises.



So, we think we know how to motivate people, right? Offer them a reward. Do this and you'll get this. Do this faster, earn more money. Do this better than everyone else, here's a promotion. We offer incentives when we want people to do things. We do it at work, at school, even at home with our kids. Tidy your room and you can watch TV.

But when social psychologists test whether incentives work, they get surprising results. Sam Glucksberg, from Princeton University, America, set people a problem to solve and told them he was going to time them to see how long they took. Then he put them in two groups. He offered one group a reward for finishing fast. Five dollars for anyone finishing in the top 25 per cent and 20 dollars for the person who finished the fastest of all. To the other group he offered no incentive, but he told them he was going to use their times to calculate an average time.

The first group, the ones with the reward, solved the problem faster, you'd think, right? Well, no, they actually took three and a half minutes longer than the group who just thought they were being timed. Incentive didn't work. In fact, it made them slower. This experiment has been repeated, with the same results, many times. But in business we still offer bonuses, promotions and rewards to staff.

That's fine if we want them to do something simple, like chop wood. We'll pay you more if you chop the wood faster. An incentive works then. But if we want someone to do something complex, something creative, something where they have to think, rewards don't work. They might even have the opposite result, and make people perform worse. Another study, by Dan Ariely, showed that the bigger the reward, the worse the subjects performed on a complex task. The reward made them focus so hard on the result that they couldn't think creatively any more.

And this all matters because more and more simple jobs will become automated. We'll be left with creative, problem-solving jobs that computers will never do. And we need to find a way to motivate people to do those jobs when we've proved the traditional incentives don't work.

So what does work? Giving your workers freedom; freedom to work on the things they want to work on, freedom to choose when, where and how they work. Want to work from home three days a week, get up late and work into the night instead? Fine. Just do the job well. And evidence shows people who choose the way they work get results. Companies that give employees time during the week to work on things that interest them and are not part of their regular job achieve amazing things. Some of the big tech companies are good examples of this, with ping-pong tables and areas to relax in …

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Usually, I get my incentives whenever someone close complements me, like my mother. She gives me the proper push and motivation to do any job, be it difficult or easy :) thank you mama

Submitted by Sihem2022 on Fri, 05/08/2022 - 23:41


when i was an employee in a company honestly nothing motivated me, it was a boring stressing and tiring job so i quited it
in the future i hope i will work for a company who allowed naps, getting some rest is very important to be performant after lunch.

Submitted by Antoine.p on Wed, 03/08/2022 - 11:15


I started my career as a web developer. Then I was a graphic designer and as they are called today, UI/UX Designer. Today, I'm a developer again. Each time, I was motivated by teamwork, learning new things and the opportunity to be creative.

Submitted by Ehsan on Tue, 26/07/2022 - 05:41


I used to select some motivates such as paly a online game after finishing a task like studying a part of a book. but now I think I don't need a outer incentives because I have a strong inner one.

Submitted by Jazmin11 on Mon, 18/07/2022 - 20:08


I´ve been working for big companies, when I was there I would have like to know if the projects ans tasks I was doing were good enough,or if I needed to improve my work, but I hardly ever got a feedback, it was stressful, because sometimes I thought I could have done something better, or just to know the impact or the results of that project.
I think that would motivate employees to know that what they do is working and that what you do is important for the growth of the company.

Submitted by teacheralice on Thu, 30/06/2022 - 12:58


I used this lesson in a class with a student and here is what he said:
"I believe the challanges are the most important thing to motivate me in my job".

Submitted by teacheralice on Mon, 27/06/2022 - 23:56


I used this lesson in a class with a student and here is what she said:
"To me the motivation in the job is when I have freedom to create. I believe that a person needs to feel confident to share their ideas without being afraid of judgment".

Submitted by 6000209511 on Mon, 27/06/2022 - 11:03


sometimes when i do not have motivation i just start with it and after that i get motivation but when im tired i never have motvation! thank you for your .

Submitted by Jeedapa on Wed, 22/06/2022 - 14:36


I feel motivated when I have to do something new or work on something
that I'm interested in. It challenges my life. I will try to do my best to complete all of my goals.

Submitted by Minhhanhtran on Thu, 05/05/2022 - 03:37


I have a lot of motivations to learn English. I am teaching english for the children, I will make some trip abroad, ... So I try to do my best to learn english to achive the higher level.