At TED 2009, the Technology Entertainment Design conference, Bill Gates delivered a speech on the scourge of malaria, an important global problem the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has been addressing since Gates retired from day-to-day operations at Microsoft.
During Gates’ presentation, he proceeded to release a handful of mosquitoes into the air, joking that there was no reason that only poor people should get malaria. These mosquitoes obviously didn’t carry the disease, though the surprise move drew more than a few nervous laughs from the 1,300 in attendance.
There is little doubt that anyone in the room will forget the point of Gates’ presentation after at least briefly feeling the vulnerability of those living in countries where mosquitos do carry the disease.
Consider making your next presentation even more memorable by finding ways to get the attention of the audience and communicating the point of the presentation at a visceral level. The audience is bound to leave with a lasting impression and your message is more likely to have a viral effect.