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How to Create a STAR Moment for Your Presentations

September 26, 2014 / Blog, Experts, Lessons, Presentation Science, Rick Enrico Blog Nancy Duarte, presentation delivery, presentation expert, presentation tips, star moment

Are your presentations falling flat? In her book Resonate, Nancy Duarte shares a few methods for a dramatic and memorable presentation delivery.

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A successful presentation creates a connection with the audience. In other words, it has to have “Something They’ll Always Remember.” The STAR moment doesn’t have to be particularly big or flashy, but it needs to be awe-inspiring. According to Duarte, it’s all about creating a “significant, sincere, and enlightening moment…that helps magnify your big idea.”

A huge spectacle doesn’t automatically equal to a STAR moment, particularly if it distracts the audience from your core message.

So how does it work? Duarte named five different types of STAR Moments in her book. Here’s a short review and some tips on how you can use them to make your presentations stand out:

1.) Memorable Dramatization

You can create a memorable impression with small dramatizations throughout your presentation. These dramatizations don’t have to be complicated. You can simply make use of props to help illustrate your points, or perform a demonstration of your product. What’s important is that you take your key points and turn them into something that your audience can watch play, which will help them understand the information you’re sharing with them.

As an example, Duarte cites how Richard Feynman explained the likely cause of the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. As one of the investigators on the case, Feynman demonstrated what went wrong using a few props during a televised hearing. According to the physicist, the O-rings in the shuttle became less resilient due to the cold weather. To explain his point, he compressed a similar O-ring using a clamp and immersed it in ice-cold water.

2.) Repeatable Sound Bites

You can also repeat short and memorable phrases throughout your presentation—”sound bites,” as Duarte calls these. To be effective, they should be easily recalled and communicated to others. Take note of all the critical messages in your presentation and constantly repeat them verbatim throughout your presentation. This will help your audience remember your main arguments, and echo your points to their colleagues and social media followers.

3.) Evocative Visuals

Visuals wields a different power over words. It’s one thing to read or hear something. It’s a completely different experience to see it represented by a picture or video. They are even more powerful if you want to portray abstract concepts. You can use images to add impact to the data you’re presenting. Instead of using a graph or a chart, add some illustrations that will properly present the point you’re making.

STAR moment - Conservation International

Another thing that Duarte suggests is the use of contrasting images. She provides a few slides from Conservation International as an example. In their campaign, scenic pictures of the ocean are juxtaposed with images of polluted beaches.

4.) Emotive Storytelling

Of course, the best way to connect with your audience is by showing them something they can relate to. Another way to create a STAR moment in your presentation is through storytelling. As we’ve mentioned in the past, sharing stories is part of our nature as social beings. Don’t be afraid to tell a story that reveals the emotions driving your presentation. If you’re pitching to investors, go ahead and share your business story. Show them how passionate you are about your venture.

5.) Shocking Statistics

The last way to create a STAR moment is by integrating statistics and data to your presentation. Things become more concrete if there’s a specific number attached to it. But don’t just hand out a large figure. Contextualize your statistics in a way that your audience can easily relate to.

In Resonate, Duarte cites how Steve Jobs framed the 5 million songs sold every day in the iTunes store: “We are selling over five million songs a day now. Isn’t that unbelievable? Five million songs a day! That’s 58 songs every second of every minute of every hour of every day.”

Try adding a STAR moment to your next presentation. Create an experience that will allow your audience to take your message to heart.

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Duarte, Nancy. “Resonate.” Duarte. Accessed September 26, 2014.



Featured Image: Screen shot of the Resonate Multimedia Version