Prepare to Inspire



I love Ted Talks. When I set aside R&D time, it is one of my favorite sources. Today, I found an amazing gem from Nancy Duarte on the structure of great talks. She talks about the shape of a presentation and common pattern of all great talks, leaving the audience, the heroes of the story, with a strong call to action:


You can change your world-let your dreams out!


I highly encourage you to watch her talk, but here are some of my key takeaways.

  • The pattern of any great talk, based on Duarte’s research, includes a likeable hero who encounters roadblocks then emerges transformed.
  • To inspire, you must illustrate what is and what could be, creating a strong contrast in the difference between the two.
  • Duarte recommends using the same phrases to create top of mind awareness
  • Use metaphors that matter-ones that reach inside the hearts of your audience
  • Duarte uses a great metaphor of the audience vs speaker relationship. The audience is the hero, our Luke Skywalker. As the one to inspire, we are Yoda, bringing the “what could be” to light

Coupled with Duarte’s research and enlightenment, I love Sam Horn’s 7 C’s of Original Messaging regarding a message that inspires.

  1. Clear
    Your idea must be clear. We love the acronym KISS, keep-it-simple-stupid, right? If we want our idea to be adopted, it must be easy to understand.
  2. Compelling
    When sharing your idea meant to inspire, you must grab attention fast, within the first minute. Create a beginning with voltage. This is true when speaking to a group or inspiring an individual.
  3. Current
    Horn tells us, “Recent research will get their attention, and respect.” Are you referencing data to inspire that is outdated?
  4. Congruent
    Make sure your idea and message to get it adopted is authentic. If you position yourself as a legacy SME in wastewater solutions but are sending a message of a hipster marketer, you might face challenges in creating believability and relevance.
  5. Commercially viable
    Likely, you are going to benefit from inspiring a group or individual. But this should not be your obvious main concern. It is not about you, although it will end up benefiting you. Keep that in mind. It will be personally or commercially viable, but that cannot be part of your message.
  6. Consistent
    What do you want to accomplish long term? Is this idea you are trying to inspire consistent with your long-term focus? Is it consistent with what else you are doing?
  7. Competitive Edge
    Your idea can be done before. How you spin it and make it unique will make all the difference. Consider going after a new market. Your company has tried this before and it failed. What is your new approach, unlike any other?


I know I will incorporate these ideas in my drives to inspire! Which is most helpful for you?