Nancy Duarte Quotes

The future isn’t a place that we’re going to go, it’s a place that you get to create.

The only difference between the failure of a great idea and the success of a medocre idea was the way in which the idea was communicated.

Personal stories are the emotional glue that connects your audience to your message.

When ideas are communicated effectively, people follow and change.

Nancy Duarte

Practice design, Not Decoration: Don’t just make pretty talking points. Instead, display information in a way that makes complex information clear.

To me, presentations are the most powerful device. You can’t really name a movement that didn’t start with the spoken word.

Nancy Duarte

Most great leaders are also great communicators. Great leaders have learned how to persuade so their objectives can be reached. The most powerful device to persuade is story. Stating facts and figures is not memorable. Emotionally connecting your audience to your idea through story will move them.

Ideas need to stand out to be noticed. There is so much noisy information out there that if your message is bland, it won’t be heard or acted upon. To avoid obscurity, you need to clash with your environment. Incorporating contrast into your presentation will help it stand out. You create contrast by using the presentation form. For example, you can state the problem, then the solution. State an opposing perspective, then your perspective. State the past, then your picture of the future. Adding the cadence of contrast will pull your idea out of obscurity.

Words that are carefully framed and spoken are the most powerful means of communication there is.

Spending energy to understand the audience and carefully crafting a message that resonates with them means making a commitment of time and discipline to the process.

Presentations are the most amazing persuasion tool available in organizations today

All “bad” presentations struggle to keep the audience interested. The audience squirms wishing they could escape. The audience has given the presenter an hour of their life, so they want that hour to be useful. It’s disrespectful of a presenter to not show up rehearsed and prepared with information and insights that will improve the lives of the audience in some way. Presenting will do only one of two things for you: it will either diminish your credibility or yield results. Most bad presentations hurt the presenter’s credibility.

The audience does not need to tune themselves to you – you need to tune your message to fit them. Skilled presenting requires you to understand their hearts and minds and create a message to resonate with what’s already there. Your audience will be significantly moved if you send a message that is tuned to their needs and desires. They might even quiver with enthusiasm and act in concert to create beautiful results.

In myths and movies, the mentor can play a few roles: they bring the hero a magical gift, teach them how to use a special tool, or help the hero get unstuck. In a presentation setting, the presenter is the mentor. Our role as a presenter is similar to a mentor. We should be brining something of important value to our audience, they should not leave empty handed. There should be something useful and somewhat life-altering that we give them. It’s not very often that we sit through a presentation and feel like we’ve sat at the feet of a mentor, but we should.

Don’t blend in; instead, clash with your environment. Stand out. Be different. That’s what will draw attention to your ideas. Nothing has intrinsic attention-grabbing power by itself. The power lies in how much something stands out from its context.

If you feel tempted to use a picture of two hands shaking in front of a globe, put the pencil down, step away from the desk, and think about taking a vacation or investigating aromatherapy.

To keep people interested, your presentation needs to have contrast. As humans we process contrast. We are assessing “what’s the same,” “what’s different,” “what’s like me,” “what’s not like me.” Humans stay interested if they can process contrast. Varying types of contrast can be used. With content, you can contrast between what is and what could be or between your perspective and alternative perspectives.

Structure is what makes communication hang together. It’s like the rails that a train runs on. Without them, things wouldn’t move very far. If you only have time to do one thing in your presentation, make sure it has a clear and identifiable structure. Without this, you’ll have no credibility. Once you’ve organized your ideas, if you step back and look at it, many times we’ve organized topics. We’ve strung together a structure with organized topics. At this point, change your topics into messages.

The greatest communicators have unknowingly used a story pattern. They not only use anecdotes effectively, but their communication followed a persuasive story pattern of tension and release. That tension and release is created by contrasting [what is] with what could be as a structural device.

Audience interest is directly proportionate to the presenter’s preparation. You better spend time and energy on any presentations where the stakes are high. If you are trying to close a large sale or speak at a conference to an audience of potential clients, you better be ON your game. An audience can tell how much energy you spent on your presentation, which is a reflection of how much you valued their time. If they gave you an hour of their time, you need to make it worth it to them by treating their time as a valuable asset by making the content valuable to them.

When someone says “that resonates with me” what they are saying is “I agree with you” or “I align with you.” Once your ideas resonate with an audience, they will change. But, the only way to have true resonance is to understand the ones with whom you are trying to resonate. You need to spend time thinking about your audience. What unites them, what incites them? Think about your audience and what’s on their mind before you begin building your presentation. It will help you identify beliefs and behavior in your audience that you can connect with. Resonate with.

Sometimes all it takes is a kind word of encouragement to get your heroes back on the right path.

President Reagan was a master communicator. In this particular speech he did a brilliant job moving between the stately role of U.S. President and a national eulogist. The pain of the event was etched on his face. In 4 short minutes, he addressed five different audiences. He spoke to the collective mourners, families of the fallen, NASA employees, school children, and even took a poke at Russia. He communicated comfort and patriotism within a very short timeframe. That’s not easy to do.

My hope is that design thinking becomes an innovative discipline and not just the trend of the decade. As a nation and globally, we have some of the biggest problems to solve we have ever faced. We need innovative ways to solve our problems and communicating the solutions will be paramount. Original thinking, complex problem solving, and collaboration are all important skills for our future.

The only way to resonate at a level that persuades is to know who you are addressing. If it’s true that the Audience is the hero, you need to spend time thinking about them. Really getting to know them to the point it feels like they are a friend. May times we picture our audience as a large clump of strangers. Instead, you need to picture them as individuals standing in line to have a personal conversation with you. It’s easy to persuade a friend, you need to think about your audience until you know them as a friend.