Creating compelling presentations

I was lucky enough to see a couple of Nancy Duarte’s presentations at Thinking Digital 2011 on using the principles of storytelling to create compelling presentations. In her main conference talk she shared her analysis of the structure of a product launch presentation given by Steve Jobs and the ‘I have a dream’ speech delivered by Martin Luther King on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963. In analysing these inspirational communicators she discovered they used a pattern of first describing current reality and then outlining how things could be – ‘the new bliss’ as Nancy describes it.
I think this piece of research offers an amazing insight into how to get big ideas across in a presentation. I was already interested in the concept of using storytelling structures and conventions to enable people to communicate more influentially, through the reading and study I have been doing in scriptwriting and film studies. Hearing Nancy’s ideas really helped crystallise my thinking and enabled me to slot some of the final pieces of the jigsaw into place.
Becoming a more influential communicator is very often a goal for my coaching clients so I have been putting these ideas into practice with several clients over the last few months. The results have been stunning: –
• Firstly sharing storytelling concepts with clients has created an electric burst of creativity that has enabled them to generate really creative ideas for communicating their message
• Secondly creating the presentation has been transformed from a chore into a joy
• Thirdly they have looked forward to delivering the presentation with excitement and anticipation, knowing the content will have real impact
• And fourthly they have achieved results beyond their wildest expectations and received spontaneous, highly complimentary feedback
I have found this whole learning journey incredibly rewarding as the ability to communicate ideas is such a fundamental leadership competence. Once clients start to put these ideas into practice they seem to experience a kind of multiplier effect that increases their influence and performance levels in a whole range of situations including pitching to clients, facilitating team meetings and in one to ones with colleagues; as well as outside of work with friends and family.
You can access a vimeo clip of Nancy’s inspirational talk at the awesome Thinking Digital conference in 2011 by following this link –

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