Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences (Anglais) Broché – 27 octobre 2010
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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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Analytical, entertaining and full of useful advice.
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Duarte describes Resonate as the prequel to Slide:ology. And she's right.
Resonate is the book to read first, because it is about the reason for giving a presentation: to change people's minds, to persuade, to take action. In contrast, Slide:ology is more about design of visuals: the things that you work on once you've know what you want to talk about.
At the core of Resonate is her thesis that all good presentations have a common structure. Great presentations start with "the way it is." Then, they make repeated contrasts between "the way it is" and "the way it could be." Finally, great presentations end with a call to action, and a promise that new, greater things are possible.
It's simple, but don't dare think for a second that it's stupid. Scientists will probably appreciate the repeated analysis that Duarte has done to show that this structure is variable and rich. It's similar to how stories can follow the same basic plot structure, but differ profoundly in almost every other way.
Another unexpected inversion is in how Duarte conceives of the importance of story. She has something more in mind than anecdotes or telling a narrative with a clear beginning, middle, and end. The presenter's role is not to be someone like Sherlock Holmes, who explains and unravels the plot.
The presenter's part is to be Ben Kenobi.
It takes a little while to get used to this view. At first, it's somewhat paradoxical to think of the person given a presentation as a supporting character. After all, this sort of character is not usually the most popular one in the movie. Everyone wants to be the central character. You are not.
These short summaries do not to the justice to the richness of these concepts, and there are many more besides. She talks at length about her work process for developing presentations, and how to persuade people, for instance.
Duarte has again written a deep book. Wonderful.
It's not just another business book. It runs deep and helps with a thought process. It brilliantly and visually presents concepts. I'm struggling for words because, oddly, I don't want to give away any of it! Can you give away the plot of a 'business' book? Well, if the book tells a story you could. So I won't.
I want to say this too. I read a lot of business related books and lately have been just burned out by all the shallow stuff and rehashes of old ideas. I mean really burned out from hearing the same old stuff. That said, I was thrilled from the first page of this book to find good, solid thinking presented in a fresh and exciting way. Also, my biggest fault with business type books is that they are long on what we should not do, short on what to do and completely lacking on HOW TO. Not this book. You get plenty of "how to."
My best clients will get this book as gift.
I bought Slide-ology and wrote a review of it for peers at work. (I love sharing.) I stumbled across Nancy's new book, "Resonate" quite by accident and immediately ordered it here on Amazon. I have read a little over half(on pg. 126 of 232 currently--back matter constitutes another 15 pages or so).
Although I have truly found some material mentally invigorating, I do have two big criticisms:
1) Nancy (the author) uses the terms "resonate" and "frequency" in such vague ways that the reader never really quite figures out what she means. I really wonder if she herself knows what she means. I counted at least 4 contextual meanings, none of which are consistent. Its not that I need just one all-encompassing definition, its just I couldn't get a handle on just how to understand those terms.
2) The book is unnecessarily too long. I reviewed the TOC multiple times. Although it appears structurally logical, when I read the actual content, it seems to bounce around a great deal. I am not the sort of person to casually read a book of this sort. I have a pen with me and make copious marginal notes as well as added sticky-notes. Finally, I transcribe all my notes into a word document to create a summary that I can use as a reference. I found myself flipping back and forth, making cross-reference notes because a concept that was touched on (for example, "The Big Idea on pg. 78) is then expanded on page 120, "From Ideas to Messages." Now,
I appreciate the bk seems to intend to start with a "wide-angle" lens and then further in book, "zoom in" to details, but it would have been much more succinct (in my opinion) if all that were presented together at the outset. I would have organized the material in this book much differently. From my perspective, she fails her own advise on page 126 regarding establishing structure by repeatedly returning to the same matters over and over. My recommendation: Read the first 78 pages of the book, and you have the crux of the whole 232 pages.
So am I am saying "don't read this"? Not at all. Just know that if you truly want to reap the benefits of Nancy's insight, it will take more than just a casual read. You will need to take notes to glean and make any sense of this book. For example, even though she clearly defines "The Big Idea" on page 78 in the very first sentence, and she further explains WHAT it is in concise example on pg. 79, the chapter misses the mark explaining, how, when, where. The examples given are too terse to make sense of it. I'm sure some will take me to task on this write-up. Just remember, it is only my opinion.
Update 2010-1103: I have finished the book, gone back & completed an organized outline (from the disorganized mess this book was in) and even created a graphic that succinctly illustrates the overall "journey." Although I still hold to my stand that the 1st 78 pages IS the book, there are a couple other helpful items beyond that:
Developmental Organization of content: pages 142 to 143
Examples of use of tugging on heart-strings to teach a lesson: pages 156-161
I did make several marginal notes throughout the book, but after going through it, if I found what i needed was a checkoff list. So i created my own containing all the questions I need to answer in the development phase. Unfortunately, it would mean nothing to those who haven't read the book, so read it and develop your own checklist.
LEARNING FROM THE BEST?
I am always eager to learn, and improve. What better way than some of the best of the best, Nancy Duarte, for example?
I opened the book, and loved the acknowledgements page - pictures of Nancy and the gang with their heads on little dolls... good explanations of who did what, a positive vibe. I thought - WOW, this will be a great book, as it already mixes visuals and words to be interesting!
Then begins the disappointment. Page upon page of teeny tiny type. With platitudes like 'You can have piles of facts and still fail to resonate. It's not the information itself that's important but the emotional impact of the information.' (pg. 14). You're kidding? You need to have more than facts? Wow! I never in a thousand years would have thought that, Nancy.
Or 'incorporate story.' 'It's become the cultural norm to write presentations as reports instead of stories. but the presentations are reports.' Really? You should tell stories? How about a story of a struggling teacher who read a lot of great reviews on Amazon from your pals, bought your expensive book, and just nearly wept because it was such a waste of money. That's a story. My story of reading this book.
SAYING BUT NOT DOING
The sad, sad, sad fact about Resonate is that Nancy did not take her own advice. There's no story here. No emotion. No narrative, few pictures that mean anything (there are glossy pictures between chapters), but no real effective use of pictures that build upon the text, or text that builds upon the pictures.
Even worse we learn amazing things like Martin Luther King, Jr., was a great speaker and so was Ronald Reagan. I just had no idea until I read Resonate, that the 'I have a dream speech' was really good. And how that relates to the kinds of business PowerPoints and business presentations that we all must make... Nancy disappoints.
THE BRUTAL FACT ABOUT THIS SORT OF BOOK
Now let's be brutally honest. Books like these are often churned out as ways to 'prove' that the author is smart and important, and the author gets his/her best friends in the business to churn out laudatory praise for the book, plus we drop a few names that we've worked for Adobe, Cisco, the Food Network...
So you and I (the mere mortals, the mere common folk who live in the real world of non-Adobe, non-Cisco businesses - the struggling medium to small businesses that don't have that brand affinity)... we buy these books hoping to learn.
What we learn is that connections are everything in this business, and Nancy seems to have them. You (and I) probably don't. But connections and what the Russians call 'blat' do not make a good book. They make for great reviews on Amazon, and probably good book sales, and they substantiate the author as an expert. But that doesn't make the book itself good for you, or me, or any of the common people who seek to learn.
SUGGESTIONS FOR BETTER BOOKS
If you've read this far... You are either a) a friend of Nancy's who is about to flame me on Amazon, or b) a person who really wants to learn how to make better presentations. Let me help you out.
There are two books that are much much better than this, truly sincere books in which the author really does teach us something about presentations and style. First and foremost, Envisioning Information by Tufte. A classic on the presentation of information - the synergy between pictures and words that are the heart of great presentations. Read this book, and go back to Resonate...
Number two - The New Rules of Viral Marketing by David Meerman Scott. Just Google it - it's free. It's an amazing e-book that is not only well written, but well presented. And it's full of tips and tricks that can help you (or me) to really succeed at presentations, not just books but PowerPoint.
In fact, I highly recommend all of David Meerman Scott's books, especially Newsjacking. Now there is man who understands writing and persuasion - a person I look to to emulate, and learn from.
THE FLAME WAR BEGINS
I am sure that other reviewers will now gang up on me. Tell me I'm terrible and mean for criticizing Nancy. How dare I critique her book? Let the ad hominem attacks begin. In my defense, I can only say that I went to Harvard (A.B., 1985) and I went to Berkeley (Ph.D., 1992). At Harvard I learned that learning, knowledge and power are the privilege of the chosen few. At Berkeley I learned that education and learning goes to those who make it their own. They can be the poor, the weak, the humble... the people from Oklahoma and not from New York City... the people who live in the East Bay and not the Peninsula.
I am sure that Nancy is a fine person. I am even sure that she is good at actual presentations. But that does not change the fact that this is a terrible book. The person and the argument are not, after all, one and the same.
I love Amazon and I love Amazon reviews - because they are the UC Berkeley of book marketing. The loud, crazy, mess of Sproul Plaza to the organized, pompous solitude of Harvard Yard. So it doesn't bother me in the least when people criticize me, my books, my reviews... Because I have faith that the people who read... read between the lines.
This is not a good book. It is expensive, and worse than that, it doesn't teach you anything about presentations in any real sense. Sorry, to be so blunt, but that's my opinion.