Reveals the underlying story form of all great presentations that will not only create impact, but will move people to action. Presentations are meant to inform, inspire, and persuade audiences. So why then do so many audiences leave feeling like they’ve wasted their time?
This is a recommended book for all Building Better Business Book Club Members.
William Buist –
This book addresses how to structure a talk, a presentation, or indeed any communication in order to make it compelling.
Coincidentally Duarte’s story structure builds nicely on our January book, Donald Miller’s “Building a Story Brand”. The books were complementary.
Duarte also has numerous case studies using famous speeches and TED talks to demonstrate her points. One key point is that in order to make your case compelling a focus on the audience is critical. A talk that works brilliantly for one audience isn’t always going to cut it with a different one.
She discusses how you should always view the intended audience as a group of superheroes. By considering what they truly care about and then linking that to your message can lift the level of resonance to new heights.
Presentations need a destination, so you need to map out where you want your hero to go. The content should allow the audience to easily identify themselves, by demonsgtrating your understand of where they are now, and then describe where they could be instead. A structure that returns regularly to remind the hero of his current situation and stretch them to consider what is possible will create a belief that it is possible. This movement from one place to another requires your hero to let go of their old belief and adopt a new more motivating, more aspirational, better one.
Duarte’s model helps us to define what your big idea or destination is. This is where you articulate your unique point of view and convey what’s at stake – the compelling reason that will make the audience move. If you can explain your big idea in one complete sentence, it will have more power. Once you have identified the signal, then the task of a good presentation is to dial down the noise, make the signal powerful enough to cut through to the audience. As presenters we need to be sure that we remove as much of our bias as we can, and dial up our credibility, hone in on unambiguous language, and think about how the envirnment in whch we deliver the message affects it. By considering those things well, we help to make sure that the message we send, is the message that is received, and that it is both resonates with and is compelling to, our audience.
Her ‘Spark Lines’ let us see how the best speakers use different energies to bring audiences with them on the journey, and create the resonance with the audience.
The book is laid out well, but is an odd size and shape. It’s nearly square pages stand out but I found it awkward to read other than at a desk or in a comfortable chair. That’s a minor criticism, and if you speak, train, or present to groups of people this book is well worth the investment of time to really study its content.