Nancy Duarte – Five Rules for Great PowerPoint Presentations


I first heard Nancy Duarte speak at Learning Solutions in 2011 and was fascinated by the ideas she presented. She is the author of two prominant books on developing presentations – Slide-ology and Resonate . They are bookends, so you probably want to look at both. The first is about making a visually appealing presentation. The second one is about developing a story for your presentation. Some of them were ideas I was already trying to put into practice, while others were complete eye-openers.

The big one for me was following a “hero” arc. This allows you to make your audience the unsuspecting hero of your presentation. You are taking them on a journey. I am a movie fan, and love a good, epic story – Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter…just to name a few. They all share a similar story arc. The hero is in a normal world, but there is a longing…a need. They are presented with an option to go after this need by a mentor. At first, they resist the offer and believe it is not for them. Then, something changes…Luke’s aunt and uncle are killed, the “one ring” must go to Mordor and Frodo is the only one to do it, or Harry is accepted to Hogwarts. The hero decides this new adventure is for them. AND THAT’S WHERE YOU LEAVE YOUR AUDIENCE! Now it is their decision to pick up the proverbial sword and go slay their own dragons. It is your job, as the presentor to act as Obi-Wan, Gandalf, or Dumbledore. You know there are problems and issues your audience will face – point them out but convince them that their want or desire is valuable enough that they should go down that path anyway.

I am still working to create this sort of feeling in my eLearning that I develop and share this concept with anyone I work with.

Here are some other videos of Nancy speaking and presenting that you may find interesting.

Nancy speaking at TED – This is similar to the presentation I saw at Learning Solutions

Have you used any of her ideas in your presentations? How did it go? Do you have a speaker that changed how you thought about something in your job? Share with us so we can all be better!


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