The Secret Structure of Great Talks

In her Ted Talk, Nancy Duarte shares her tips and strategies for giving a great presentation. In her research, Duarte discovers that all successful speeches share the same “shape”. By this, she explains that great presentations begin with the speaker starting out with what is, then contrasting it with exploring what could be. The speeches progress by going back and forth between what is and what could be, in order to keep the audience’s attention. Infact, Duarte compares this ‘shape’ to that made by a sailboat. She explains that in order for a sailboat to go where it wants to be, it has to zig-zag against the wind in order to reach the end destination as fast and efficiently as possible. Duarte says this is true in presentations because this method of presentation will steer your audience toward your main point of a presentation, the fastest and most efficient way possible. She shares that the presentation must include a call to action, but ultimately end with the ‘new bliss’. By this, Duarte explains that she means that the listeners must be told how great everything will be when they follow the speaker’s advice. This will leave the audience encouraged, positive, and eager to adapt your new idea, and to leave with what you wanted them to leave with, be it inspiration, happiness, awareness, or anything else.

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