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Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences

ISBN: 978-0-470-63201-7
272 pages
September 2010
Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences (0470632011) cover image


Reveals the underlying story form of all great presentations that will not only create impact, but will move people to action

Presentations are meant to inform, inspire, and persuade audiences. So why then do so many audiences leave feeling like they've wasted their time? All too often, presentations don't resonate with the audience and move them to transformative action.

Just as the author's first book helped presenters become visual communicators, Resonate helps you make a strong connection with your audience and lead them to purposeful action. The author's approach is simple: building a presentation today is a bit like writing a documentary. Using this approach, you'll convey your content with passion, persuasion, and impact.

  • Author has a proven track record, including having created the slides in Al Gore's Oscar-winning An Inconvenient Truth
  • Focuses on content development methodologies that are not only fundamental but will move people to action
  • Upends the usual paradigm by making the audience the hero and the presenter the mentor
  • Shows how to use story techniques of conflict and resolution

Presentations don't have to be boring ordeals. You can make them fun, exciting, and full of meaning. Leave your audiences energized and ready to take action with Resonate.

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Table of Contents

Foreword (Dan Post).


1 Why Resonate?

Persuasion Is Powerful.

Resonance Causes Change.

Change Is Healthy.

Presentations Are Boring.

The Bland Leading the Bland.

People Are Interesting.

Facts Alone Fall Short.

Stories Convey Meaning.

You Are Not the Hero.

The Audience Is the Hero.

Resonance Rule #1.

2 Lessons from Myths and Movies.

Incorporate Story.

Drama Is Everything.

Story Templates Create Structure.

The Hero’s Journey Structure.

Crossing the Threshold.

The Contour of Communication.

The Beginning and Call to Adventure.

The Middle: Contrast.

Call to Action.

The End.

What Is a Sparkline?

Case Study: Benjamin Zander.

Zander’s Sparkline.

Resonance Rule #2.

3 Get To Know the Hero.

How Do You Resonate with These Folks?

Segment the Audience.

Case Study: Ronald Reagan.

Meet the Hero.

Meet the Mentor.

Create Common Ground.

Communicate from the Overlap.

Resonance Rule #3.

4 Define the Journey.

Preparing for the Audience’s Journey.

The Big Idea.

Plan the Audience’s Journey.

Tools for Mapping a Journey.

Acknowledge the Risk.

Address Resistance.

Make the Reward Worth It.

Case Study: General Electric.

Resonance Rule #4.

5 Create Meaningful Content.

Everything and the Kitchen Sink.

More Than Just Facts.

Don’t Be So Cerebral.

Contrast Creates Contour.

Transform Ideas Into Meaning.

Recall Stories.

Turn Information Into Stories.

Case Study: Cisco Systems.

Move from Data to Meaning.

Murder Your Darlings.

From Ideas to Messages.

Resonance Rule #5.

6 Structure Reveals Insights.

Establish Structure.

Make Sense.

Case Study: Richard Feynman.

Feynman’s Sparkline.

Order Messages for Impact.

Create Emotional Contrast.

Contrast the Delivery.

Putting Your Story on the Silver Screen.

Process Recap.

Resonance Rule #6.

7 Deliver Something they’ll Always Remember.

Create a S.T.A.R. Moment.

Case Study: Michael Pollan.

Repeatable Sound Bites.

Evocative Visuals.

Case Study: Pastor John Ortberg.

Ortberg’s Sparkline.

Case Study: Rauch Foundation.

Case Study: Steve Jobs.

Jobs’s Sparkline.

Resonance Rule #7.

8 There’s Always Room to Improve.

Amplify the Signal, Minimize the Noise.

Give a Positive First Impression.

Hop Down from Your Tower.

Value Brevity.

Wean Yourself from the Slides.

Balance Emotion.

Host a Screening with Honest Critics.

Case Study: Markus Covert, PhD.

Case Study: Leonard Bernstein.

Resonance Rule #8.

9 Change Your World.

Changing the World Is Hard.

Use Presentations to Help Change the World.

Don’t Use Presentations for Evil.

Enron’s Presentations During Implosion.

Gain Competitive Advantage.

Case Study: Martin Luther King Jr.

King’s Sparkline.

Case Study: Martha Graham.

Be Transparent So People See Your Idea.

You Can Transform Your World.

10 Inspiration Is Everywhere.

Case Study: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Sonata Sparkline.

Case Study: Alfred Hitchcock.

Case Study: E. E. Cummings.

Resonance Rule #9.


Picture Credits.


Special Thanks.

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Author Information

Since 1988, Nancy Duarte's award-winning firm has created over a quarter of a million presentations that have shaped the perception of the world's leading brands and thought leaders. Duarte Design is one of the largest design firms and woman-owned businesses in Silicon Valley, and its clients include: Adobe, Cisco, Citrix, Food Network, Facebook, GE, Google, Al Gore, HP, Kaiser Permanente, McAfee, Microsoft, Nokia, Qualcomm, TED, and Twitter.

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Press Release

September 28, 2010
Resonate: Present Visual Stories That Transform Audiences

— Duarte Design, one of the world’s leading agencies focused on professional and business presentations, has announced the publication of Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences (Wiley, $29.95, October 2010) a new book by CEO Nancy Duarte that demonstrates the role of fundamental elements of dramatic storytelling structure in the creation of modern presentations by businesspeople and other communicators.

As a recognized leader in the presentation design field, Mrs. Duarte’s agency has been hired to help global organizations and thought-leaders, including many high tech clients, former Vice President Al Gore, and TED.

Mrs. Duarte draws on more than 20 years in presentation design and inquiry to understand how storytelling — humanity’s most important, innate, and ancient form of complex communication — operates in modern presentations. Resonate shows readers how to leverage the same techniques used in film and literature to transform presentations into dramatic journeys, to captivate and connect with audiences, to persuade and to inspire.

In an age when slide and multimedia presentations have emerged as one of the dominant forms of communication in the world today — used in everything from product launches to documentaries — Resonate addresses the very real problem of presentation illiteracy. Almost every business deal is decided based on a presentation, yet most are boring and ineffective — potentially wasting millions of dollars spent on product development, marketing, and advertising. The techniques and teachings in Resonate are important to any presenter who seeks to move audiences to understanding and action.

“Over the years I worked on thousands of presentations but when I sought to find out what features distinguish the truly great ones I found the answers in screenwriting, Greek and Shakespearean drama, mythology, literature, and philosophy,” said Mrs. Duarte. “Powerful presentations are always stories, and people who understand the dramatic structure of the medium will be best able to reach their audiences and communicate not just information, but meaning.” 

Since 1988, Duarte Design has created over a quarter of a million presentations, working with global companies and thought-leaders to influence the perception of some of the world’s most valuable brands and many of humanity’s common causes. Duarte Design clients have included Adobe, Cisco, Food Network, Facebook, GE, Google, Al Gore, HP, Nokia, TED, Twitter,
and World Bank.

Mrs. Duarte’s 2008 book, Slide:ology—The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations, about best practices for visual communication, won the Axiom Design award.


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