Nancy Duarte is a pro when it comes to presentations. Not just giving presentations, but starting them, finishing them, and every step in between. Author and co-founder of Duarte Designs, Nancy is a seasoned veteran when it comes to incorporating storytelling into speaking and creating connections with an audience.
The below video is the first part in a series of 10 in which Nancy shares the key components to making a successful pitch using creativity and critical thinking. Find out what she has to say:
Before you make a few modifications to your same, old, boring presentation and click “Save As” thinking you’re ready to go…think again. Take a step back and take an empathetic approach to your delivery of information. When creating a presentation, Nancy explains it’s important to ask a few crucial questions to ensure the audience properly digests your message:
The goal is to avoid resistance and have the audience embrace what you’re saying. To do that, you need to get into the audience’s head. Nancy advises presenters to think of the mental roadblocks their listeners might face when in attendance so they can avoid them proactively. Nancy goes into full creative mode before she even touches presentation software with storyboards, post-it notes on walls and asking other people for their opinions so that she and her team can map out the path they want their words to take.
“Collecting perspectives you maybe hadn’t considered can put just the right elements in your talk that can overcome any resistance that might be thrown out there by the audience.”
Beginning a presentation through a creative process allows you to look at the sum instead of the individual parts – a powerful move according to Nancy. Presentation software builds ideas in a linear and chronological fashion. While that may be logical from an organizational standpoint, it doesn’t allow you to know whether what you’re saying will work or not before you create that first slide.
“So much of what we do during the day is analytical, linear problem solving – but creating a presentation is creative, which means you have to be effective.”
Nancy believes in the power of thinking and inspiration. Maybe it’s a change in environment like working from home, switching rooms or switching up the music in the office that can help with the creative process. Move into a position that encourages your creativity.
The importance of your presentation will help you determine how much time you should spend creating it. Reviewing timelines for a staff meeting is vastly different from a $15 million investment pitch, so the time put in should be proportional to what’s at stake. Nancy shares that many executives spend upwards of 60 hours making, reviewing, and fine-tuning presentations – even more so if they’re struck with a completely presentation-altering epiphany in the shower (which Nancy says happens often).
Keep an eye out here for more summaries on creating a perfect pitch, or continue forward watching Nancy’s videos!