S.T.A.R. moments — Something They’ll Always Remember –create a hook in the audience’s minds and hearts. They tend to be visual in nature, and give the audience insights that supplement solely auditory information.
Famous S.T.A.R. Moments
Richard Feynman was one of the investigators of the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. Early on, he identified the likely cause of the explosion as a rubber O-ring that failed. To dramatize his conclusion, he took an identical O-ring, clamped it so it was curled and immersed in a cup of ice water. At just the right moment, he loosened the clamp and the rubber very slowly uncurled. “…[F]or more than a few seconds,” he said, “there is no resilience in this particular material when it is at a temperature of 32 degrees.”1 This made a deep impression on the reporters who were there because they knew it should have uncurled in a millisecond.
Bill Gates aspires to solve some of the world’s most grave problems through his philanthropic activities—including malaria. In a 2009 TED talk, he first established the seriousness of the malaria problem by telling the audience that millions have died from malaria, and that at any given time about 200 million people are afflicted by it. He then pointed out that more money is spent on the development of anti-baldness drugs for wealthy men than on conquering malaria for the poor. Then he produced a jar full of mosquitoes and opened it so they could escape into the room, saying, “There’s no reason only poor people should have the experience.”
Steve Jobs was a master at unveiling Apple products in intriguing ways. “This is the MacBook Air,” he said in January 2008, “so thin it even fits inside one of those envelopes you see floating around the office.” With that, Jobs walked to the side of the stage, picked up one such envelope, and pulled out a MacBook Air. The audience went wild as the sound of hundreds of cameras clicking and flashing filled the auditorium. “You can get a feel for how thin it is. It has a full-size keyboard and full-size display. Isn’t it amazing? It’s the world’s thinnest notebook,” said Jobs.