Episode 2 – Nancy Duarte of Duarte Inc: Shaping Stories That Bring Us Home

Published November 23rd, 2019

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Communications expert Nancy Duarte is the global leader behind some of the most influential visual messages in business and culture. As CEO of Duarte, Inc., Nancy helps leaders and companies find their voices—through presentation development, speaker coaching, and communication strategy. Nancy’s journey to the moment she realized that “stories” are our most effective communication tool came from being vulnerable with her own story. Faced with potentially having to shut the doors of her own business during the dot com bust of 2001, Nancy allowed authenticity and vulnerability to guide her steps through rebuilding and refocusing on what she did best—helping people navigate and tell their own stories with that same authenticity and vulnerability.

John and Nancy discuss how we all long to be part of a great story, but that the only way “great stories” are born is by living in what Nancy calls the “messy middle.” They show us although we can’t guarantee our stories will turn out exactly as we’d like, when we hold on to deeper values and honor others, they may turn out better than we ever imagined.

Links, Products and Resources Mentioned

Interview Quotes:
“In life, we’re constantly in the messy middle. You fail. You try. You get the girl, you lose, or you get bitten. And what’s fascinating is the part that a lot of people don’t realize is that in storytelling, the hero or the protagonist is on an inner journey and an outer journey.”
– Nancy Duarte

“I looked at the rise and fall—the rise of tension and release of it—the cathartic release of story. I really studied—is there a rise and fall to great presentation? That’s when I made the structural discovery that the greatest communicators use this, and that tension is built by painting a picture of the current status quo, and then this picture of a future reality—and the brain is programmed to understand [that] contrast.”
– Nancy Duarte

“We love landing home, and there’s something about home that is comfortable and safe. So that’s part of the arc of a story. You start in your ordinary world, you go into a special world, and then you come back to your ordinary world with gifts and tools and skills you didn’t have that you get to use back in your ordinary world. So it’s a lot about transforming and coming home changed.”
– Nancy Duarte

“The thing about telling a story that’s inconclusive, and it’s not done yet, is you give the audience [the choice] to jump into your story and help make it a happy ending.”
– Nancy Duarte

“The sensing parts of your brain, every sensing part of your brain fires when a story is being told, and it doesn’t do that with any other communication medium. Also, while you’re listening to a story, your critical and analytical mind is suspended, and you’ll be opened up to things that you may not have believed or considered before. There’s so many things that happen in the human brain while a story’s being told.”
– Nancy Duarte

“I try to make a way for people to have human flourishing and a way for people to develop into something they never thought they could believe or become, because that’s what happened to me. I feel like, God, if I could do this, God, anybody could do this.”
– Nancy Duarte

“In life, we’re constantly in the messy middle. The hero is always on both an outer journey and an inner journey. . . . We begin at home, and then we spend most of our lives in that difficult adventure, and then at the end we come back home. And it is story, not bullet points, not PowerPoints, not outlines. It’s story that touches people’s hearts and penetrates their minds and changes people’s lives. You can have a great story that can change the world. I hope you do.”
– John Ortberg

About today's guest(s)

Nancy Duarte

Categorized: Podcast

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