It was standing room only at the Agency’s “Playing Field” yesterday to hear Nancy Duarte share her wisdom on how to create a presentation that grabs the audience by the scruff of the neck.
Most communicators know Nancy from her breakthrough book, slide:ology.
She recently published book No. 2, resonate, which dives into the type of content that truly engages an audience.
Through exhaustive research – speeches, screenplays, Greek tragedies, etc. – Nancy discovered all of these powerful stories follow the same framework, moving back and forth between “what is” and “what could be.”
It’s the gap between the two scenarios that creates interest and even drama.
The thinking is similar to our storytelling techniques in which we contrast “what was” with “what is.”
The part of Nancy’s talk that I thought was particularly insightful involved analyzing the 2007 Steve Jobs presentation that launched the iPhone and Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous I Have a Dream speech.
You know how ESPN basketball announcer Hubie Brown will break down a sequence from a Lakers and Celtics game during a stoppage in play? That’s essentially what Nancy did with these two communications.
The same way our clients must translate complexity into an understandable narrative, Martin Luther King Jr. had to address incredibly complex societal issues.
As Nancy explained, King partly accomplished this through metaphors:
America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.”
with the payoff later into the speech:
So we have come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.
There’s a reason 47+ years later the King speech resurfaces in discussions.
One final point from the talk –
Be brave, allowing your passion to flow to the audience.
By the way, Nancy’s presentation did grab the audience by the scruff of the neck.
P.S. Yesterday also caused me to reflect on our own visual storytelling. As you know, we’ve embraced SlideShare, with our Aligning PR with Storytelling for the Happilly Ever After deck securing over 7,000 views (between the first upload and the contest version).
What you probably don’t know is Stephanie Phua, who interned in our Singapore office, designed these decks. It turns out that Second Chartered Bank is conducting a contest to find the “World’s Coolest Intern” and Ms. Phua has made the final 10. If the bank defines “coolest” as having a passion for social media, being relentlessly curious and open to feedback, then Stephanie deserves ice-cube status.