This week, I was filling out a Power Point slide template for a funding drill, and my mentor reminded me to make sure I was telling a story, not just filling in facts. How often do we do this? We are handed a template and we just start filling in the requested details. Nancy Duarte’s book, “Resonate” takes my mentor’s point to a new level. What is resonance? The author states, “Resonance occurs when an object’s natural vibration frequency responds to an external stimulus of the same frequency.” She says it is key that we, the presenter, tune our frequency to our audience (not the other way around). She also says in order to be clear, to stand out in the sea of ideas, the presenter must go forward unafraid, CLASH with the environment! Yes, this is a risk (people may stare – but, isn’t that what you want if you are trying to bring attention to your idea?)
If you really want the audience to pay attention, make them the hero, Ms. Duarte says. Too often, the storyteller (with too much arrogance) swaggers in like John Wayne, and then spends the first five minutes telling the audience why they should listen to him. Bring the heart of a servant to the brief, be the mentor, not the leader.
The author then goes on to discuss her recommendations (based on tools screenwriters and storytellers have used for centuries) for a good presentation structure and why the audience will love it. The book is full of photos, diagrams, and other visual cues that make it easy to read and understand. Late in the book, she goes though case studies and applying her ideas.
Step away from your computer screens for a moment, there is a story in there somewhere, lost in that list of facts you are typing. I suggest you read this book, it will get you thinking differently about those presentations. Those presentations are BORING (Yes, I said it) and so did Nancy Duarte. It is up to you to be bold enough to change!
Duarte, Nancy. Resonate. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons. 2010. Print.