Summary Written by Vanessa Chase
"…presentations will play a role in shaping your future. The future isn’t just a place you’ll go; it’s a place you will invent. Your ability to shape your future depends on how well you communicate where you want to be when you get there."

- Resonate, page xix

The Big Idea

How The Idea is Packaged is Everything

"Changing your stance from that of the hero to one of the wise storytelling will connect the audience to your idea, and an audience connected to your idea will change."- Resonate, page 23

There’s a reason why we love reading fiction or watching our favorite TV show each week. We respond to the story. But who would have thought that story is what makes Steve Jobs’ 2007 iPhone launch speech and Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have a Dream” speech so memorable. Great speeches and presentations don’t just dole out a ton of information and leave the audience out to dry. They actually follow a story structure. When an idea is packaged into this structure, it will draw the audience in.

In this regard, an audience must be given more than just facts. There must also be an emotional appeal and stakes for the “big idea” that you communicate. Showing the audience what both of these things are will garner their buy-in. Duarte suggests that showing the audience what could be is the most powerful story to capture their attention.

Insight #1

The Element of Surprise

"An audience will deem a presentation a success if they feel like they have connected with you."- Resonate, page 132

One of the reasons why so many presentations bore audience members is there is a sense that nothing is happening. Everything is stagnant in the presentation. This is how attention drops off and yawns start happening. What we need to do instead is weave in the element of surprise into our presentation. This could take the form of using alternate media, multiple presenters or interaction. Duarte recommends that several of these can and should occur within an hour.

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Insight #2

Define Your Audience’s Journey

"The journey should be mapped out, and all related messages should propel the audience closer to the destination."- Resonate, page 76

The goal of most presentations is to move the audience from point A (their current perspective) to point B (a new perspective). In order to get them to that point, we must create a compelling presentation in order to shift their perspective. Thus, one of the most valuable things we can do in preparing for a presentation is to map out this journey. Duarte suggests that the presenter identifies both the inward and outward transformation that the audience will go through. Once these things are identified, it becomes easier to determine what you need to tell them in terms of emotionally and logically appealing to them in order to inspire their change.

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Nancy Duarte

Nancy Duarte is a communication expert who has been featured in Fortune, Forbes, Fast Company, Wired, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, The Economist, LA Times and on CNN. Her firm, Duarte, Inc., is the global leader behind some of the most influential visual messages in business and culture and has created more than a quarter of a million presentations. As a persuasion specialist, she cracked the code for effectively incorporating story patterns into business communications. Resonate, her latest book, spent nearly a year on Amazon’s top 100 business book bestsellers list.

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