Diana Kander is a keynote speaker, bestselling author, and a vanguard when it comes to memorable pitches. She is the author of Go Big or Go Home, a book that teaches readers the art and science of making impactful pitches for film, sports, business, and philanthropy. Her pioneering research reveals the direct correlation between emotion and memory, offering insights into enhancing audience engagement and recall. In this episode of the Unlearn Podcast, Diana joins Barry O’Reilly in a thought-provoking conversation about making presentations more engaging and memorable. They unpack the concept of co-creation in presentations and provide real-world examples of successful pitches that involve audience participation.

Go Big or Go Home

Highlighting the significance of logical arguments in a successful pitch, Diana states, “A well-structured logical argument is fundamental to making people understand the power of your pitch.” A logical narrative is instrumental in gaining buy-in from your audience, enabling them to follow your train of thought and understand your proposition. Barry adds, “A sound logical argument essentially sets the stage for your pitch. It’s like laying a solid foundation upon which your story can be built.” He underscores the importance of this logical structure, not just for the initial buy-in, but for sustained audience engagement throughout the pitch. “With a solid logical argument, you make your audience think along with you, turning passive listeners into active participants.” [Listen from 1:25]

how to be memorable


Creating Emotional Resonance

“Connecting emotionally helps the audience remember your message long after the presentation is over,” Diana tells Barry. Her research unveiled five tools needed to create emotional resonance in presentations:

  • The element of surprise keeps the audience engaged and alert.
  • Analysis helps the audience to understand and connect with the data or information being presented.
  • The pitch order, or how the information is arranged, can evoke different emotional responses.
  • Using 3D objects during presentations provides a tangible element that can make the pitch more memorable.
  • Co-creation involves the audience in the presentation or problem-solving process, creating a sense of ownership and engagement among them.

By using these tools, Diana believes presenters can create a deep emotional resonance with their audience that outlasts the presentation itself. [Listen from 4:20]

It’s Just Like MAGIC

Barry and Diana discuss the concept of MAGIC – Moments, Analogy, Goal, Interactivity, Contrast. Moments in presentations are the memorable peaks that make an emotional impact. Analogies help simplify complex ideas and make them relatable for audiences. Setting a clear goal provides a roadmap for the presentation, giving it direction and structure. Interactivity engages the audience actively, fostering a sense of involvement and ownership. Contrast helps highlight the main points and creates a distinct differentiation that helps retention. Diana explains, “By plotting out the highs and lows of a presentation, we ensure that the audience remains engaged throughout.” MAGIC is about making presentations memorable and “consciously designing presentations to create an emotional journey for the audience,” Barry adds. “It’s not just about what you say, but how you say it and how you make your audience feel that makes the true magic.” [Listen from 6:05]

Co-creation: Including the Audience

Co-creation is a strategic tool in presentations where the presenter involves the audience in the process of problem-solving or idea generation. Rather than being passive recipients of information, the audience actively participates in the creation process. Diana views co-creation as a pivotal tool in the success of a presentation. She states, “Co-creation is not just about soliciting input from the audience; it’s about immersing them in the process. This participatory approach creates a sense of ownership among the audience, enhancing their connection with the material and, ultimately, the presenter.” Co-creation transforms the conventional presentation dynamic into a shared journey. “Involving the audience in problem-solving can create a mutual sense of accomplishment. This shared ownership is an essential part of engagement and retention,” Barry remarks. [Listen from 12:10]

The Criticality of Concision, and the Importance of Feeling Special

According to Diana, being concise does not mean being simplistic. It’s about delivering maximum impact in minimum words. Concision allows you to comprehend and retain ideas better, as the message is not diluted with unnecessary details. Additionally, making people feel special is a crucial aspect of creating memorable pitches and presentations, as it makes them more receptive to your ideas and leaves a lasting positive impression. She states, “When you make people feel special, they are more likely to remember you and your message.” Her book shares an easy-to-follow protocol to achieve this. [Listen from 23:50]