Creative Inspirations: Duarte Design, Presentation Design Studio

with Nancy Duarte
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Creative Inspirations: Duarte Design, Presentation Design Studio
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Duarte Design is on a mission to change the world, one PowerPoint presentation at a time. Nancy and Mark Duarte, the wife-and-husband team behind Al Gore's famous slideshow about global warming, have built a thriving business out of creating high-impact PowerPoint and Keynote presentations. Their company has become the go-to presentation resource for some of high technology's most visible companies, such as Adobe, Cisco, and HP. But Nancy will be the first to tell you that it's not the technology that matters most, but rather the story. This installment of Creative Inspirations tells the story of how this power duo elevated lowly PowerPoint presentations to arguably the most compelling form of modern media.


The power of presentations

(Music playing.) Nancy Duarte: There's an enormous amount of power in a presentation and especially when it's delivered really well. Presentations are the only communication medium where it's in-person and we have the opportunity to connect in a very personal way, because we're face-to-face. Diandra Macias: Presentations have always been looked down as something that was any admin can do, but it takes a lot of thought and skill because it's not about the tool, it's about the story.

Michael Moon: It's a really simple question and I ask this to people all the time, how many presentations have you sat through in the last month? People would say 4, 10, 30. I'll say how many of them of sucked? And the look on their faces tells you that it was pretty much all of them. Dan Post: It's been oft cited that there are somewhere between 30 and 50 million PowerPoint presentations given each day. Some are between 500 million and 750 million Flash animations that are viewed on the web. So if you look at the ubiquity of what we're doing, it's absolutely immense.

The challenge is to rise above the noise level and to really stand out. Jo Broussard: I can't even be in a room anymore with a bad presentation because it just drives me crazy and I know about all the missed potential and the missed opportunity of how someone really could be engaging with their audience or really make more of an impact with what they're saying. Michael Moon: We've taken it for granted at this point in business communications that we are going to go, get hauled off to a room and non-voluntarily have to spend 45 minutes there, listening to somebody else tell us what he thinks is important in his life.

We really need to change that paradigm. It's about what's important in the audiences' life. Ryan Orcutt: We need just the strongest visual thinkers, conceptual thinkers to be able to design these presentations that they're just as impactful as a billboard is or that a great package is. Nancy Duarte: Presentations are the most powerful way to rally a workforce or to close a big sale, whatever it is that you have as an objective, but right now we build presentations so often that are so putrid and so poorly put together that they don't resonate. If you take that extra bit of time to really pull together your content and your structure and your story well, you can actually change your world.

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