Duarte for Design

Just had a great lunch and meeting with Nancy Duarte – who runs Duarte Design with her husband Mark. They are the ones who did the core design of Al Gore’s Academy Award winning “An Inconvenient Truth,” among other things. (You might think Al Gore made that movie – I think it was the work of Duarte Design.) They have an amazing list of clients. For some more great stuff on the Duartes see Garr Reynolds Presentation Zen.

An interview is coming up next month, but one of the most interesting of many things that we discussed was Nancy’s (and Mark’s) view of ‘Presentation.’  Naturally they have a visual (they visualize everything!) and it’s the traditional image of the three legged stool. But the legs are different, unique and refreshing.

So What’s a Presentation?

A ‘presentation’ is made up of three legs:

  • Messaging
  • Visual Story
  • Delivery

Does the content play to the audience? Meet needs? Tell a story without the facts and figures of a data dump…

Visual Story
This is where impact lives, and where Duarte Design thrives in their work. The visual is NOT just PowerPoint or Keynotes – those are just tools. The visual is created, made up of pictures and videos and – images that make the message come alive. (I particularly loved their emphasis on the use of video in communicating – making a story come alive in presentation is part of the video revolution.)

Now I thought that this would be behavior and personal impact (where Decker thrives in their work by the way.) But no, that is only a part of it according to Nancy. The delivery component can be

  • in person to a large audience or one-on-one, or
  • web based, or
  • device based

Duarte separates them conceptually. That delivery component is interesting – look at the difference in a presentation made in person to a thousand people or one-on-one, or with no person but a voice and visuals in a webinar, or on a telephone conference call with nothing to see. Or through a movie, or iPhone, or…….

Gets you thinking. But for the details you’ll have to wait for Nancy’s book that contains her concepts on the three legs of the stool, and much more. It’s in the final stages right now, and I can’t wait to get my hands on it…

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