The Secret Structure of Great Talks

Could it be that some of the most memorable speeches have a common structure? They most definitely do according to¬†Nancy Duarte. She uncovers a secret structure of great talks that move the audience repetitively from “what is” to “what could be” states of awareness.

Duarte compares Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech to Steve Jobs’s iPhone launch. Her research paid attention to when the speakers were talking about the status quo versus an improved future.

The way she uses graphs to display how the speakers involve their audience (by evoking laughter and applause) is superb. Watch for yourself:

The reason I find this presentation so worthwhile to watch is not only its content, the graphics, or the knowledge that there is a common structure of great talks. My main reason for liking it is the way Duarte delivers her message. Pay attention to her voice inflection, the rate of speech, and the pauses she makes.

I believe if you can deliver a presentation with the same skill and enthusiasm, your presentation will have a great chance to be remembered. If, in addition, you deliver it with a similar structure as outlined by Duarte and sprinkle some interesting stories in-between, you’ve got it made.

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