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.

Transcript

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 …

Discussion

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Language level

Upper intermediate: B2

Soumis par joelharrris le mar 19/05/2020 - 01:19

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it is often deplorable when you have to work twice as much as the others to be up to the task but it should not weaken us

Soumis par ragamin le dim 17/05/2020 - 14:43

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is it a real speech ???if so , how can i get the full version ??? any help is appreciated

Hello ragamin,

We use material from a range of sources on LearnEnglish but I think this text was prepared by the British Council specially for this lesson, so it doesn't have a full version. I'm glad you found it interesting, though!

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par Janiere le mar 12/05/2020 - 19:17

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Unfortunately, in my job, the only incentive is to receive the profits participation of company. Well. As we work with sells, I think the results would be biggest, if my company created some extra incentive for those who sells more.

Soumis par micaela le jeu 07/05/2020 - 03:38

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Hi, in my case, as the speaker said, I am motivated when I feel that my company treat me like a person who has a life outside. Also if I enjoy my work it is much better.

Soumis par OlaIELTS le lun 04/05/2020 - 22:56

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A determination to succeed motivates me in my endeavours.

Soumis par jazmin marquez le mer 22/04/2020 - 00:32

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Well, I can motivate in my work or in my studies when I achieve the objectives that I set. It is very important for me not to work under pressure all the time, and to have time for other activities like playing sports and spending time with my family. Finally, a good relationship with my teachers or my boss is essential

Soumis par James12345 le jeu 16/04/2020 - 11:29

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Generally, this question might be considering in two different ways. First part of one refers to my professional work. In my job, I have been rated by patients through several factors that's why the biggest incentive to pursue my career is smile on their lips after fixing the tooth. They pay special attention to taking a dental appointment without the pain. Either injection of anesthesia or treating the teeth should be making completely painlessly. If I can see a glad patient after visit, they will come again to fix their tooth. It means they have been relaxing during my work. Second part of this question is related with my studies. I have degree of dentistry, but I decided to continue my education in other field, history. Reason of this study haven't connected with earn for living. That's why the remarks aren't the most important issue as a incentive. I have always wanted to have deep knowledge in various areas of life. To be honest, get high self-esteem and self-confidece motivate me to study. Therefore, I think it isn't last word in my education.

Soumis par yoyoraw le ven 10/04/2020 - 12:56

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Thinking about my future dreams of being successful in life motivates me to keep studying harder to achieve those dreams .

Soumis par huyentran le ven 03/04/2020 - 10:02

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the thing that motivates me to study that if i hard study now i can easy find a good job in the future and earn much money more easier.

Soumis par shahhoseini le sam 28/03/2020 - 13:44

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What motivates you in your job or studies? I think if the relationship between managers and workers is honestly all of them will work motivated.

Soumis par gianbar92 le mar 24/03/2020 - 19:31

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There are many things which could make my studies sessions enjoyable like starting lessons after 10 a.m., listening to the teacher sitting on a comfortable armchair( chairs are too uncomfortable at school, expecially for tall guys like me!) and doing different homework than usual... I hate monotony and doing same boring things everyday! However nowadays there is none of this. I think it's important to reach a result and not how I will reach it. Everyone has a different routine and nobody could treat us at the same way! I hope something will change in the future.

Hello Hazeliikoo

The easiest way to download the audio is to use a computer: just click on the audio player with the right mouse button and then choose 'Save As ...'

Happy listening!

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par armando le jeu 30/01/2020 - 05:47

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Hi!!!! Talking about the work, I would like to have more freedom on my work schedule, time to do personal things through the day without have the feeling of being everyday at work without time to do anything else; maybe more flexibilty on weekends or compensative days. Summarising, have time.

Soumis par SOBHI le lun 06/01/2020 - 07:00

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Hello, could you please advise why question 5 is true? I couldn't find anything about future jobs in the passage. thank you,

Soumis par Peter M. le mar 07/01/2020 - 07:19

En réponse à par SOBHI

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Hello SOBHI,

The speaker explains that non-creative jobs will become automated, leaving creative jobs for people to do:

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.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par dollarsee le mer 01/01/2020 - 20:00

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Hiya! I appreciate what the contents you've got on this site. But I/we would be more appreciative if you should make those audios and videos downloadable for offline use. I love those mellifluous voices. Please be kind to consider my earnest request. Best wishes.

Soumis par cs le ven 06/12/2019 - 20:09

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In my opinion a requirement to produce a better performance is to enjoy the job, this means, the person need to enjoy the activities that him / her performs. Then, when they have flexibility in the job schedule and have opportunities to relax in the workplace, the posibilities that the people don't enjoy the job is decreased and therefore the performance is increased. That is my experience.

Soumis par pzou le mer 06/11/2019 - 08:46

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Hope i can get better and better for listening skill, it is a step by step progress

Soumis par Himanshu le jeu 31/10/2019 - 12:42

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Really appreciate your work . hey Peter M ,this is Himanshu . what you share that add value to others life . I love your website and hope this will grow in future . you can check my website where I share valuable contents and also I am working on the topic https://------------------------------------- hope you like this. Thank you

Hello Himanshu

Thanks for your comment. I'm afraid we don't generally allow links to other sites, except for dictionaries, the Wikipedia or other similar reference sources. This is why the link you posted has been edited.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par hamo0ody le mar 22/10/2019 - 06:34

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Someone please tells me why It's false 6. People always work better when they start the day later and work into the night.

Hello hamo0ody,

The final paragraph says that people work best when they can choose how to 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. 

In other words, people should be able to choose. Starting later and working into the night is one possibility, not something that everyone should do. It is given as an example, not a solution for everyone. Therefore the claim that people 'always' work best in this way is not true.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par nikisyazwani le mer 02/10/2019 - 16:38

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I have completed the lesson for 'A Talk About Motivation' . The level I chose was Upper Intermediate B2.

Soumis par Magedelabd le mar 24/09/2019 - 18:39

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What is motivating me in my job is to receive good words from my management . also the incentive can motivate me too.

Soumis par kamicounciler le sam 21/09/2019 - 17:59

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for me it can be higher salary,good looking places with an interesting design and the creativity potential that the job has.also when i do things that have engaging audiences feedback (like making games) i am more motivated.

Soumis par Mizioenglish le mer 11/09/2019 - 09:59

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In my opinion the best incentive to do a good performance is to have a person that has a big leadership and that can direct your decision in doing something at work. I'am thinking to a boss, a chief or someone else that has an ascendent on you and that is a good example for all the members of a working group, something like a spirituale guide, an example to follow, not only at work, but generally also in your life.

Hello Sabiya,

I'm afraid the audio files are not available for download. You can, of course, listen as often as you like on the page.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par andre.geebelen le mer 04/09/2019 - 08:56

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In my previous job as a aftersalesmanager in automotive they offered me a fix salary and in addition a bonus in growth revenue. After the first year I was obligated to ask after the first evaluation. Within the first five months there was a revenue increase of 5 %, in the sixth month our top mechanic felt sick and he was out for eight months caused by a hernia with no replacement on the workfloor. My bonus for the whole year was gone ! Now I'm looking for a new job with a better agreement.

Soumis par starfish2019 le dim 25/08/2019 - 15:00

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What motivates you in your job or studies? In my job, good working environment, good salary, good job nature motivates me a lot to work harder and even to do overtime. Also a job of my hobby and a job is important for my lifetime career is a lot matter for me as well. In my studies, I like the subject, stories, abstracts and thesis are giving me greater knowledge and useful for my life. I also like to achieve higher grades and distinctions in my studies as well, and I believe that is motivating me a lot to study harder to achieve greater results.

Soumis par Boricio le mer 07/08/2019 - 06:42

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When I was student, the best thing that motivated me when I work was the fear of failure. When I think that I’ll fail if I don’t work, I am more and more motivated. On the other hand, I like to be free in my choice, It’s bit difficult for me when I am constrained to work on a thing that I don’t like, I am less motivate.

Soumis par MOcon le jeu 27/06/2019 - 09:57

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I found the exercises very interesting. They motived me to do more exercises and learn more English.

Soumis par Kyithar le mer 05/06/2019 - 15:49

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When I create something that is meaniful to me, I will be motivating.

Soumis par Lovelyworld1996 le lun 20/05/2019 - 08:45

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The audio of the listening is not downloadable. I think there should be a download option for the listening and the tasks so that the people can download them and share with friends.
Hello Lovelyworld1996 Could you please try again? There is no download button, but if you are using a computer, by right-clicking on the audio and then selecting 'Save Audio As' (or something similar), you can download it. How you do that on a touch screen depends on what operating system you have, but it should be possible as well. Please see if you can download it and let us know if you need more help with this. All the best Kirk The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par Alireza le ven 10/05/2019 - 20:33

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in my studies i think having a purpose that is big enough to keep me concentrated on it would work for me. Because basically no one gives me reward for more study. So it's just about the purpose.

Soumis par Ely Princess le jeu 09/05/2019 - 11:23

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I have a goal i hope to achieve in life. Everything i do must converge towards achieving that goal. In the beginning, it may look as though the new idea, or information i learn helps to build my personality. But when i sit back and meditate on what i call my 'ultimate goal' or 'life project', I use my latest acquisition to sharpen my project. Little by little, it starts germinating. The feeling is lovely. This is the root of my motivation.

Soumis par Mariasoto le mer 10/04/2019 - 06:44

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Freedom in how to do it, and where and when to do it is an excellent motivation, but the sense of performing something applying all your creativity is a motivation in itself.

Soumis par Alessandrott le ven 05/04/2019 - 11:26

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Or rather, I think that knowledge is not only related to the amount of time but to the quality of time invested to do something.

Soumis par Alessandrott le ven 05/04/2019 - 11:24

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I think that knowledge is not related to the amount of the time invested, but to the quality of the time to do, to think, to learn... something.

Soumis par Ebuka john le mar 02/04/2019 - 21:40

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Most times, it is simply curiousity or the quest for knowledge.
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