Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Nancy Duarte — Structure Your Presentation Like a Story

After studying hundreds of speeches, I've found that the most effective presenters use the same techniques as great storytellers: By reminding people of the status quo and then revealing the path to a better way, they set up a conflict that needs to be resolved.
Harvard Business Review | HBR Blog Network
Structure Your Presentation Like a Story
Nancy Duarte

Powerful narratives are also based on strong metaphors.


Dan Kervick said...

It seems to me that most of the great speech givers have built their speeches on this simple (past/present/future) pattern:

1. Where have we come from? How did we get here?

2. Where are we now? What is happening? What is going on?

3. Where are we going? What must we do?

The speaker aims to give focus, moral clarity and resolve to his listeners by helping them to understand confusing events swirling around them, and to see their own individual lives as part of a larger purposeful course of human action extending from the past into the present, and calling for a natural and necessary continuation into the future.

Lincoln was the master of this technique. In the Gettysburg address we have:

1. The past: recollection of the efforts of the forefathers to conceive and give birth to a new nation dedicated to the principle of equality.

2. Here's where we are now: in a civil war that is testing the forefathers' conviction; on a recent battlefield in the war; dedicating part of that battlefield as a cemetery for the dead.

3. The course before us: We're not finished with the war. Trust history to remember the dead. Our job is to keep going to preserve and extend the work of the forefathers, and give their original conception a new birth.

And then there is the great Second Inaugural:

1. The Past: The deep causes of the war in which we are making satisfactory progress. Political and moral-providential dimension of these causes.

2. Where we are: Astounded, chastened in our arrogance, our prayers only partially answered, meekly resigned to accept the just punishment of the Almighty.

3. Our task for the future: "With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations."

Matt Franko said...

Good stuff from "Honest Abe" there Dan...

Not to take away from that but there is another 1-2-3 that goes:

1 Tell them what you are going to tell them;

2 Tell them;

3 Tell them what you told them.

Perhaps this is for persuasive situations IIRC...

good stuff , rsp,

Dan Lynch said...

Yes, agree with the author that economists need to share their vision of a better world.

Tom Hickey said...

1 Tell them what you are going to tell them;

2 Tell them;

3 Tell them what you told them.

That's Aristotle's beginning, middle and end.

Basically, it's stating a thesis, proving it, and then closing the deal regarding action to be taken.

That the the logic of it, of the "matter." Then there is the rhetoric, or the "manner." The manner is devoted to gaining interest, opening up receptivity, persuading, convincing, and then motivating to action. This has been called "the hook, line and sinker."

The matter and manner have to be integrated and work together in a strong narrative.

Anonymous said...

Dan Kervick's pattern made me laugh - reminded me of the caveman who stood outside of his cave one starry night, watching the heavens circling overhead and thought to himself:

1) Who am I?
2) Where did I come from, what will happen to me?
3) What am I meant to be doing?

Only the caves have changed ....!