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Storytelling with Nancy Duarte: How to craft compelling presentations and tell a story that sticks

Storytelling with Nancy Duarte: How to craft compelling presentations and tell a story that sticks

Brought to you by Microsoft Clarity—See how people actually use your product | Lenny’s Job Board—Hire the best product people. Find the best product gigs | Eppo—Run reliable, impactful experiments

Nancy Duarte is the CEO of Duarte Inc. and has helped create over 250,000 presentations for influential business leaders across the globe, including Apple, TED, the World Bank, and Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth. She’s also written six best-selling books, and her TED talk has garnered over 3 million views. She regularly contributes to HBR, MIT-Sloan, and Forbes, and her books are essential reading in leading business schools worldwide. In today’s episode, we discuss:

• Why empathy is at the heart of everything Nancy does

• Why you’re presenting more often than you think

• Tactics for creating interesting presentations and telling better stories

• The concept of a “torchbearer leader” and why it’s important

• Strategies for overcoming stage fright and nerves

• Tips for communicating and presenting remotely

• How Nancy landed Apple as a client and what she learned

Listen now on Apple, Spotify, Google, Overcast, and YouTube.

Where to find Nancy Duarte:

• Twitter: https://twitter.com/nancyduarte

• LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nancyduarte/

• Website: https://www.duarte.com/

Where to find Lenny:

• Newsletter: https://www.lennysnewsletter.com

• Twitter: https://twitter.com/lennysan

• LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lennyrachitsky/

In this episode, we cover:

(00:00) Nancy’s background

(03:25) The insane number of presentations Nancy has helped create

(04:52) The most memorable presentation of Nancy’s career, and what it taught her

(07:04) The lasting impact of working with Al Gore

(09:00) How Nancy landed Apple as a client

(11:44) How working with Apple informed future presentations

(16:22) 3 things to remember when creating a deck

(17:33) The importance of empathy

(20:29) Empathy in action

(22:40) Why internal presentations are so high-pressure

(23:09) Signs you’re doing a good job making the audience the hero of the story

(25:38) The structure of great talks

(28:08) Lessons from great historical speeches

(30:02) You’re presenting more often than you think

(32:07) How Nancy uses this story structure in her marriage

(35:00) The framework What is? What could be? What is the ideal bliss?

(36:07) The importance of visuals

(41:12) Slide-making principles (titles, organization, and more)

(45:46) The Minto Pyramid Principle

(48:02) Think and plan before diving into software

(50:00) The Duarte process for crafting presentations

(53:18) How remote work has influenced the way we communicate and present 

(55:46) Strategies for overcoming stage fright and nerves

(1:01:10) The concept of “torchbearer leaders” and why it’s important 

(1:04:54) The surprising truth about informal vs. formal production quality

(1:07:37) Examples of PMs telling great stories

(1:11:49) Lightning round


• Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth: https://algore.com/library/an-inconvenient-truth-dvd

• Apple’s Think Different campaign: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5sMBhDv4sik

• The Secret Structure of Great Talks (Nancy’s TED talk): https://www.ted.com/talks/nancy_duarte_the_secret_structure_of_great_talks

• The Structure of Great Talks graphic: https://www.google.com/search?q=nancy+duarte+ted+talk+great+story+up+and+down+like+teeth&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwi2hoCZmJH_AhVXATQIHb1KC2AQ0pQJegQIBxAB&biw=1512&bih=838&dpr=2#imgrc=5Jei-bDCXe2qQM

• I Have a Dream speech by Martin Luther King Jr.: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vP4iY1TtS3s

The Minto Pyramid Principle: Logic in Writing, Thinking and Problem Solving: https://www.amazon.com/Minto-Pyramid-Principle-Writing-Thinking

• The Minto Pyramid Principle and the SCR Framework, by Lenny: https://www.lennysnewsletter.com/p/minto-pyramid-principle-scr

Illuminate: Ignite Change Through Speeches, Stories, Ceremonies, and Symbols: https://www.amazon.com/Illuminate-Through-Speeches-Stories-Ceremonies

• Marshall Ganz: https://www.hks.harvard.edu/faculty/marshall-ganz

• Brian Chesky: https://www.linkedin.com/in/brianchesky/

• Airbnb’s Snow White storyboards: https://uxdesign.cc/how-airbnb-proved-that-storytelling-is-the-most-important-skill-in-design-15d04ac71039

The Writer’s Journey: https://www.amazon.com/Writers-Journey-Anniversary-Mythic-Structure

Business Proposal: https://asianwiki.com/Business_Proposal

• Writer: https://writer.com/

Production and marketing by https://penname.co/. For inquiries about sponsoring the podcast, email podcast@lennyrachitsky.com.

Lenny may be an investor in the companies discussed.

Lenny's Newsletter
Lenny's Podcast: Product | Growth | Career
Interviews with world-class product leaders and growth experts to uncover concrete, actionable, and tactical advice to help you build, launch, and grow your own product.