Secret #1 of star presenters: @NancyDuarte & your grandma

Elderly lady typing on laptop. Shallow DOF.What does author and star presenter Nancy Duarte say about presenting – and about your grandmother?

Well just last month, on the Harvard Business Review (HBR) blog network, Nancy wrote:

“If [people] can’t follow your ideas, they won’t adopt them.
…If your grandmother wouldn’t understand what on earth
you’re talking about, rework your message.”

Having written classic books for public speakers (including slide:ology and Resonate, and most recently the HBR Guide to Persuasive Presentations), Nancy’s one of the world’s top thought-leaders on presenting. So the next time you’re preparing a presentation or speech, please heed her advice and ask yourself whether your grandmother (or another potential member of your audience) would easily follow your reasoning.

And what if you want to be sure you’re pitching your ideas at the right level? Ideally, rehearse your talk in front of a couple of people who know as much about your topic as your target audience. When you finish, ask them what’s the main message they got from your talk, and why they would or wouldn’t take up your call-to-action.

As Nancy also wrote:

Use words that will resonate with those whose
support and influence you must earn.”

I wholeheartedly agree!

(For more on this topic, including whether Nancy’s ideas risk “dumbing down” your content, please also see my comment below her article.)

Note: This is the 1st in an ongoing series of quotes from expert presenters. Next month and beyond, look out for future posts with more wise words from well-known authors and bloggers to help you present.

Over to you

  • To what extent do you agree or disagree with Nancy’s assertions?
  • What evidence supports your views?
  • I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment box below

You might also like


2 thoughts on “Secret #1 of star presenters: @NancyDuarte & your grandma

  1. Craig, thought I’d let you know that I LOVED that Amy Cuddy video so much I actually gave an impromptu speech about it the following week. My club and I are all about the power poses now! lol! We had so much fun!


What’s YOUR view?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.