LS2011 Day 2 Keynote: Resonate with Nancy Duarte

If you feel like people really connect with and act on the messages youdeliver, stop reading. This isn’t for you. If you feel that you would benefit from techniques make strong connections with your audience to inspire and make important changes, you should be exploring the techniques shared by our keynote speaker for Day 2:  Nancy Duarte, author of Resonate. LS2011 Day 2 kicked off with a keynote from Nancy Duarte presenting on the topic of resonating with your audience. The image above is sourced from a video on Duarte’s YouTube Channel . It shows how many grains of sand move in response to different noise frequencies. My colleague  Sumeet Moghe tweeted a nice summary about the link between the video the concept of resonating “when little bits of sand move together it’s beautiful. when your audience moves together it’s beautiful too“. [blockquote type=”blockquote_line” align=”left”]To succeed as a presenter, the audience must latch onto the idea, and spread it when leaving the room.[/blockquote]To succeed as a presenter, the audience must latch onto the idea, and spread it when leaving the room. This is why obessing over your audience and understanding what will resonate with them is critical to effective communication.  So much of today’s communications are both visual and centered around persuading others. Yet, few presentations actually resonate with their audience-especially with web presentations content engagement trails behind checking email.  The art of resonating is actually as old as oral culture itself. Inherently, we are storytellers. It is hard-wired into the human experience. Yet, over time, as we progressed through oral to written cultures and through the industrial age to the information age, storytelling seems to have become a lost art. Nancy has posted a wonderful video about engaging through stories. The more that engaging storytelling techniques can be infused into your presention, the more likely you can make it resonate with your audience. Use storytelling technqieus to move your presentation along the spectrum from Exhaustive Detailed Reporting toward Dramatic Storytelling. This reminds me of a maxim that was shared with me some time ago “Data proves, but stories sell“. If you look at any Presidential address over the last two decades, facts are presented, but very specific, individual stories of impact are employed to make the sale. Making an effective presentation that resonates with the audience is a critical skill in today’s world, but where is this really being taught? The art of resonating with an audience is the art of storytelling, and these are skills that can be built. Duarte shared resources and techniques: [list style=”arrow” color=”blue”]

  • Stories have a likable hero (this can be the audience) who encounters challenges, and emerges from the experience transformed in some manner. See Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey.
  • Storytelling is about creating a dynamic tension between a current state and future “bliss” state. The change must be signficant to be meaningful.
  • Stories have a beginning, middle, and end with turning points between each of these “acts”. See Freytag’s Dramatic Structure .
[/list] Duarte presented a detailed analysis of two speaches: Steve Job’s iPhone unveiling. and Dr. Martin Luthor King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream”. Nancy showed a graphical mapping of the dynamic tension between current state and “the new bliss” for each speech.  Another layer of detail for the Job’s speech showed physical reactions (clapping, laughing, cheering). King’s speech mapped specific visual language techniques used (metaphors, cultural and political references, etc.). It is in this analysis that one can truly see the science behind the storytelling.  This analysis technique can and should be applied on the construction end of a speech. Duarte’s YouTube channel has a video of the analysis of these speeches . A shortlist of takeaways from the analysis: [list style=”arrow” color=”blue”]
  • Tension is created by shifting between “what is” (current state), and “what could be” (the new bliss). Both speeches move the audience between these two contrasting states to engage the audience.
  • A “Burst/Pause” technique between with what is/could be, creates repitition of key points to solidify the message (and, as we learned Medina’s keynote from Day 1, repetition key to making it memorable).
  • Short phrases that change from what is vs what can be are generally the most quotable and memorable.content
  • Every presentation needs a STAR moment: Something They’ll Always remember.
  • Metaphor (visual words) can be more powerful than slides because the audience member can create the vision specific to his/her experience.
  • An audience must get emotionally attached to story for it to resonate. That requires real risk from the presenter to put themselves out there and show real challenges. If the audience has the same idea, and it has an attached emotion, it will be supported.
[/list] This writeup of the Duare keynote certainly won’t resonate with it’s readers as the LS2011 presentation did with the audience. I hope I have spread the word to those who could not attend: there are techniques you can learn and employ to drastically improve the impact your messages. Seek them out from the Duarte YouTube channel and the book Resonate.