At the Presentation Summit, before Nancy Duarte began her keynote, Rick Altman did a Seinfeld impersonation about a head of lettuce! He then reminisced about Nancy's involvement with the Presentation Summit back in 2003 (then called PowerPoint Live).
Nancy started her session by mentioning how happy she was to see many recognizable faces. She observed that while much has changed since 2003, presenting faces the same challenges. She acknowledged the presenting firms spearheaded by MVPs and so many other people. Nancy attended an Entrepreneurs' Roundtable for presentation agency owners the previous night, and reconfirmed that people in the presentation industry play a role in changing the world.
Below are some remarks from her talk:
Everyone in this room can create something out of nothing. Leaders imagine and then lead others into the future.She projected the Venture Scape from her new book, Illuminate that illustrates why change is essential.
We did whatever work we could, and then intentionally decided to be a design team. We needed to transform ourselves.Nancy then mentioned the impact Jim Collins’ book Good to Great had on her firm, which said:
If there is one thing that you can do, be best in the world at, passionate about and profitable at, do just that one thing.So her firm decided to only do presentations.
These young students in India wanted my job; I had to be different.
India’s perception of beauty was different than the US, so I knew I had 10 years.
I had 10 years to convert my shop from only design into storytelling.And then Nancy began speaking about her main topic for the keynote: how to use speeches, stories and ceremonies to persuade:
A story has a structure and is a container for info.
People can repeat the last story they heard, but not the last presentation they saw.
When you listen to a story, all the sensory parts of your brain light up.
The brains of the teller and the listener sync while storytelling is happening.
Stories also transport.
When stories are told, the analytical parts of the brain are suspended and open the brain to consider.Nancy mentioned that stories typically have a 3-act structure:
Patti has a natural gift; a supernatural amount of empathy.
The sense of building and releasing tension is important in a story. Great speeches are structured by contrasting what is, and what could be. Then a great talk ends by articulating the new bliss (the new norm) you want to see established. Because people will remember the last thing you say more than what you say in the beginning and the middle.Nancy then spoke about a few well-known (and some little-known) speeches that utilized this structure:
Ceremonies demarcate endings and beginning. It helps release what was and embrace something new.
We go through corporate changes—big changes. The past will cling to your staff and clients. You need a ceremony to make it clear what to let go of.She then shared an anecdote from Steve Jobs' life. She spoke about how when Steve Jobs returned to Apple ended, they had no OS strategy. Ultimately, they bought Steve Jobs' company NeXT, Inc., which became Max OS X. But there was resistance from developers wanted to create applications for this new OS. It was then that Steve Jobs used the power of a ceremony. He actually buried Mac OS 9 in a coffin, shut the coffin, and eulogized it. That was pretty dramatic, but it did convey the message. In fact, Steve himself never uttered "Mac OS 9" again. It was dead to him.
Ceremonies are about ending and beginning. Ceremonies are about ending something so that something new can begin.From stories and ceremonies, Nancy moved to her third and final topic: transformations.
Duarte has recovered, and what changed? The hearts and minds of people.
We undid much of the process put in.
Duarte tries to be torchbearers.
We are trying to make change happen in this industry.
So much of the journey is about how far we all have brought this industry in 10 or 15 years.
We all want to continue to lead this industry into its next glorious place; it is ready for reinvention.Nancy recollected that she spoke about the story structure in 2010. She asked other to look at their successful talks, and the talks of others such as Martin Luther King and analyze. But once you know the rules, you should break the rules a little bit!
Great post, thanks for sharing Geetesh!
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