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4.3 out of 5 stars26
4.3 out of 5 stars
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The recent success of "The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs" (which I also reviewed and loved) has really raised the issue (as though it were needed) of the importance of great presentations and story telling.

In her book "Resonate", Nancy Duarte takes the reader through all the issues of a great presentation. This is a beautifully designed book (as you'd expect from Nancy) which clearly marks the road for developing and delivering presentations and stories that resonate.

Nancy shows us the power of story telling and dismisses the overly corporate presentations (the ones with the meaningless words and over-engineered sentences) as being of little value or impact.

Throughout the book you'll find great charts, drawings and photographs that wonderfully illustrate the points being made; this really is a lovely book to look at.

Nancy has also included a great deal of reality within the book; real people giving real presentations and telling real stories. OK, they're amongst the best (Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Ben Zander and Richard Feynman, to name a few) but you can see how a story, a well placed demonstration and simple explanation really mark out a great presentation.

Nancy is driving her readers towards the S.T.A.R moment (Something They'll Always Remember) and yet this is done by explaining ALL the key elements of making a presentation in a logical and meaningful manner. Nancy even has a section on how to organise your thoughts, refine them and then create your key messages . . this book has it all.

The book is also packed with facts about audience reactions, interest levels and so on. This allows the reader to design a message to hit the audience exactly at the right time.

This is a truly excellent book for both the professional and non-professional communicator. I've been giving presentations for years and wish I'd come across this sooner!
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on 11 January 2011
The key purpose for a book like this is to get you thinking and experimenting with new techniques. Utilising numerous case studies the book gently weans one off the powerpoint slide teat and refocuses on the message. I picked up the book and within twenty minutes was rethinking a large presentation that I was about to give. The format, illustrations and typesetting of the book were also excellent.

My one annoyance with the book is that it focuses its case studies on individuals with innately interesting messages like political struggle, world changing products or catastrophic events. What about the hapless fools like me who have to recycle and present bone dry corporate messages? :)
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on 3 July 2011
Resonate will transform your performance. It is outstanding; aimed at creating amazing PowerPoint slides and is without doubt the BEST book I have read on how to make visual impact with your audiences.
As someone who speaks for a living and always on a journey of self development; I was looking for a book to help me craft slides with a difference; slides that would not only enhance my delivery but engage with every single delegate. Resonate has delivered this and so much more... you need to buy this book!
In addition, I now follow Nancy Duarte on Twitter and she is a generous, wise and helpful lady.
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on 8 April 2014
This is a great book for people who have to persuade an audience with their presentations. I think it really scores for those who are experienced presenters and want to raise their game, because as the author points out “Creating an interesting presentation requires a more thoughtful process than throwing together the blather we’ve come to call a presentation today.”

No easy fix is promised: throughout the book, Nancy Duarte repeats the message that it takes time and planning to create and deliver a high-quality presentation. Early on, she cites a survey suggesting that as many as 86% of executives say that communication clearly impacts their careers; yet only a quarter of them put more than 2 hours into preparing for high-stakes presentations. Which may go some way to explaining why so many presentations are rubbish.

Facts aren’t enough on their own: we need to appeal to hearts as well as minds, emotions as well as reason. To do this we need to weave compelling stories through our presentation. When was the last time you visualised a set of numbers showed on a slide? Now when was the last time you visualised what was going on in a story a presenter told? And which stayed in the memory – the number or the story? If you were lucky the number and story were in the same presentation, and you most likely remembered them both.

Duarte walks her talk, as Resonate takes presenters through the journey of creating a compelling presentation. She provides memorable stories from her own experience and more than a dozen different high-profile case studies, some of whose presentations are analysed in great detail to see just how people from Abraham Lincoln to Steve Jobs, companies such as General Electric and Cisco Systems, deliver presentations that move people to act.

There are heaps of practical tips and wise words – I particularly like Duarte’s advice for presenters to take the role of ‘mentor’ not ‘hero’ to the audience, as it “will clothe you in humility”. Guide, give advice and words of wisdom, lessons learned – and help the audience join you on a journey. Duarte’s tips to getting to know your audience are illustrated with her own rigorous research and preparation for a client, showing just how much work is needed here. This rigour is followed by ruthlessness at the editing stage when we’re told to “edit on behalf of your audience”, and when creating the presentation to “wean yourself from the slides”.

Even experienced presenters will discover new tools. I liked the ‘sparkline’, which visualises the narrative ebb and flow (wonderfully illustrated by Benjamin Zander). There are story templates, tools for analysing the audience and then mapping their (not your) journey from where there are now to where they can be, frameworks for presentation structure, and another favourite of mine, the S.T.A.R. Moment (‘Something They’ll Always Remember’).

This is a hefty work, yet all wonderfully brought to life with metaphor, visuals, stories, and characters from history, art, TV and movies. We get Yoda and Luke Skywalker and even the Karate Kid, along with Martin Luther King, Hitchcock, Mozart and many more.

I was particularly pleased with my Kindle for iPad app edition with live links to resources and tools. It looked superb and worked beautifully – like a great presentation.

Highly recommended.

You can find Resonate here on Amazon []

Nancy has also written ‘Slide:ology’ which is now on my wish-list
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on 3 February 2011
I loved Resonate. The book is an example in itself as to how to motivate. The key message being that you need to engage not just minds but also the emotions and the way to do that is through storytelling. Nancy Duarte sketches out a timeline (she uses the term Sparkline) for presentations and illustrates how all great presentations go through various phases. By using this structure anyone can plan their presentation to ensure there are elements of contrast, elements of surprise and balance between pathos(emotion), ethos(respect) and logos(logic). The book is very US centric and all the examples are American but for me the message is universal. This book will be something you will dip into for inspiration time and time again.

Presenting Yourself With Impact At Work
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on 1 April 2011
I have been presenting professionally for about 20 years and have finally begun to learn the art the hard way. I've also read many books on the subject, with a few exceptions most are rather trite and obvious.This book, though, is the real deal. The author has clearly thought very deeply about the subject and, for me, what she says rings pretty much 100% true. Its one of those books that you could not easily read from cover to cover, there is little padding and so much content that it is a good idea to read one section or chapter and internalise it over days or weeks before moving on. Its not a beginners guide though.
I only write this review because I genuinely feel this is a praiseworthy book.
charlie b UK
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on 24 January 2011
This book is absolutely great! I have used some of the ideas at work already and it has been very successful. I recommend it to anyone who is determined to get their ideas across to others in the simplest possible way.
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on 3 January 2011
A really great book. It goes into the theory and practice of a great presentation yet it is easy to understand and follow for your own presentations.
I can recommend this book to anyone who needs to get a message across to an audience.
This book goes much further than any other book I have read on presentations, it kindly has certain bits highlighted so that you do not have to read every word, especially useful when times are short or for reviewing sections.
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on 22 July 2012
Inspirational book about presentations. It is not a template approach for how to put together an excellent presentation but rather serves as a launch pad for ideas. Important lessons include thoughts on contrast, audience, repeatable sound bites, the power of rehearsal and Murder Your Darlings.

I really like the design of this book which makes it a pleasure to read. Nice shape. Nice pictures.

Inspiring examples include Benjamin Zander, Steve Jobs, Ronald Reagan, Markus Covert, Leonard Bernstein, Alfred Hitchcock, Martin Luther King etc.

A collection of thoughts packed with useful insights, tips and visuals. It enhances awareness rather than improves skils. For that Duarte should have created an integrated approach such as Barbara Minto's Pyramid Principle. A good book but not an essential guide on presentations. 7 out of 10 for me.
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VINE VOICEon 3 September 2011
This is a handsome book - which makes it a pleasure to read. It's unique insight is the 'sparkline' which is a theory of the shape or contours of a great presentation. I run the UK Speechwriters' Guild and I've never seen anything like it before.

The book analyses great speeches and works of art illustrating how they alternate themes. Another great innovation in this book is the supporting web content. You can watch videos on the website illustrating the points. I found all the videos compelling.

The strength of this book is that it mixes up familiar 'great speeches' with unfamiliar ones. It's also very up-to-date with contributions from TED. She also mentions some amusing stories - like the fact that Kenneth Lay and Jeff Skilling from Enron were masters of the PowerPoint chart! This book is a treat, and should adorn every office bookshelf.
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