I just finished reading Resonate by Nancy Duarte. The book’s promise is bold. According to Dan Post in the introduction, when “applied with passion and purpose, the concepts in this book will accelerate your career trajectory or propel your social cause.” And the book delivers, thankfully.
Resonate is about composing engaging presentations that transform audiences. It provides hands-on advice and compelling case studies to change the 45-minute PowerPoint-dominated ordeals you repeatedly have to sit through into life-altering experiences.
Apart from the inevitable Jobs and Reagan examples, quite some of the case studies are about cultural icons, such as the 2008 TED talk by conductor Benjamin Zander. Watch it if you haven’t already, its message is becoming ever more relevant.
I full-heartedly believe in the irresistible intrinsic value of culture and the arts for everybody, and that – when delivered with passion and purpose – we can make everybody fall in love with them.
I don’t necessarily think we need more funding, or more governmental support, or a different management team, or a Twitter account. What we need is an army of passionate advocates like Zander equipped with the knowledge and tools to continuously convert people into enthusiasts. We need to tell stories that resonate.
Resonate, the book, details some simple rules to be as convincing in your everyday presentation(s) as Zander. The most important rule, I think, is that in order to get people to move, you’ll need to tune in to your audience’s resonant frequency. To do so, treat the audience as the hero in your story, not yourself, not the arts, not the culture.
Combine the focus on the audience with a big idea (everybody is a culture and arts enthusiast, only most don’t know yet), a convincing purpose (to connect people with arts, culture, society and each other) and a lot of passion, and we’re almost done.
I greatly enjoyed studying Resonate. Like all good books its possible applications go well beyond its original aim and at $16/£10/€23 it’s a bargain. Of course, you can also watch some of the other great promoters online for free and be inspired by them.
Header photo by Sebastian Martin on Flickr.
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