What will they talk about over drinks?

On a table, on the stage, sits a small, upside-down glass jar.

Right in the middle of his TED-talk, Bill Gates casually lifts the jar.

There are mosquitoes inside the jar. He releases them into a room with mostly rich, successful Americans.

Gates’ presentation is about malaria. A disease that predominantly hits poor countries, nowadays.

Which is why investments in the fight against malaria are relatively small. More money is spent on developing medication for hair loss, for instance.

‘There’s no reason only poor people should have the experience’, Gates says, as he releases the mosquitoes (which are malaria-free).

The crowd laughs uncomfortably.

What can we learn from this?

Gates gives one moment in his presentation a higher intensity. That moment dramatizes his main message.

It’s the moment that his audience will talk about over drinks, afterwards.

Presentation expert Nancy Duarte calls it a S.T.A.R. moment: Something They’ll Always Remember.

This aligns with the ‘peak-end rule’from psychology. It states that people’s judgment of an experience will be influenced most by the (emotional) peak of that experience, and the end.

People will give higher ratings to a trip with a single, very special experience (whale watching) than to a trip with multiple, moderately special experiences (watching many beautiful fjords and birds).

So: important presentation? Invest in a peak experience!