12 Things Great Speakers Do

Nancy Duarte is an expert in presentation design and principal of Duarte Design, where she has served as CEO for 21 years. Nancy speaks around the world, seeking to improve the power of public presentations. She is the author of Slide:ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations as well as Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences and the recent HBR Guide to Persuasive Presentations. Her books are must reads for communicators but many pastors don’t know who she is. So, as an introduction, here are 12 of my favorite quotes from her:

  1. Designing a presentation without an audience in mind is like writing a love letter and addressing it “to whom it may concern.”
  2. The people in your audience came to see what you can do for them, not what they must do for you. So look at the audience as the “hero” of your idea—and yourself as the mentor who helps people see themselves in that role so they’ll want to get behind your idea and propel it forward.
  3.  Give people insights that will improve their lives.
  4. People don’t fall asleep during conversations, but they often do during presentations—and that’s because many presentations don’t feel conversational.
  5. Before you begin writing your presentation, map out that transformation—where your audience is starting, and where you want people to end up.
  6. Ask yourself, “What new beliefs do I want them to adopt? How do I want them to behave differently? How must their attitudes or emotions change before their behavior can change?”
  7. Presentations move people to act—but only if you explicitly state what actions you want them to take, and when.
  8. The quality of your presentation depends as much on what you choose to remove as on what you choose to include.
  9. The most persuasive communicators create conflict by juxtaposing what is with what could be.
  10. Never deliver a presentation you wouldn’t want to sit through.
  11. Transparency wins people over.
  12. For an idea to spread, it needs to be distinct and stand out.