The Book: Resonate: Present Visual Stories That Transform Audiences by Nancy Duarte, John Wiley & Sons, Paperback, September 2010.
Everyone gives presentations, in any number of forms. Expressing our opinion, our research, our hard work to a group of people is always a risk. Sometimes, these situations are dreadful: our point gets missed, and instead of leading the group to higher ground, we create even more confusion or frustration. There are other times, however, when we create a connection with all those present, and our idea resonates with the group. How can we become more consistent?
As a follow-up to her book Slide:ology, Nancy Duarte has written Resonate, a book with enough information, insight, and keen examples to make any type of presentation connect better with an audience. Anyone can tell a story, but how it's told—visually, sonically, physically, and linearly—is the key to true resonance. And, her #1 rule is: "Resonance causes Change." How best to create resonance? Become a storyteller. Storytelling utilizes multiple psychological and emotional triggers and creates an experience for your audience. "Creating desire in the audience and then showing how your ideas fill that desire moves people to adopt your perspective. This is the heart of a story." Like the characters Yoda and Luke Skywalker in the movie Star Wars, Duarte points out that the audience is the hero (Luke), and Yoda (you) must reveal and align ideas and capabilities already present within the group consciousness.
The author practices this same methodology in the book by presenting her ideas through photographs, drawings, graphs, charts, diagrams, and even poetry, making Resonate a truly unique reading experience. By doing this, Duarte offers a variety of ways for the reader to understand the greater meaning of her message. With the example the book sets for how we interpret and retain information, it's clear to see that how people present information matters. And, by practicing exactly what it is preaches, Nancy Duarte's Resonate will help you become more effective at transforming your audience into active participants.
Reviewer Jack Covert is the founder of 800-CEO-READ, a leading bookseller to corporations and large organizations, based in Milwaukee.