Nancy Duarte is a communication expert who has been featured in Fortune, Forbes, Fast Company, Wired, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, LA Times and on CNN. Her firm, Duarte, Inc., is the global leader behind some of the most influential visual messages in business and culture, and has created more than a quarter of a million presentations. As a persuasion expert, she cracked the code for effectively incorporating story patterns into business communications. She’s written five best-selling books.
Duarte, Inc., is the largest design firm in Silicon Valley, as well as one of the top woman-owned businesses in the area. Nancy has won several prestigious awards for communications, entrepreneurship, and her success as a female executive. On the list of top 250 Women in Leadership, Duarte ranks #67 and on World’s Top 30 Communication Professionals for 2017, Duarte ranks #1. Nancy has spoken at numerous conferences and her TEDx talk has had over a million views.
Nancy’s inspiration to write “Illuminate”
Once you begin to write a presentation well, visualize it well and deliver it well, people want you to become a leader. When Patty Sánchez (co-author of “Illuminate”) joined Duarte, Nancy told her she had a hypothesis: “businesses follow a story plot.” Nancy and Patty decided to write a new book and started to draw in wall-sized papers the innovation journey of the major firms in Silicon Valley. This put in evidence the story plots of these businesses and how these companies’ leaders had to communicate the right message at the right time.
Leaders have to illuminate the path
The metaphor of “illuminate” is that leaders must enlighten the path where the employees, investors and customers must walk through. Leaders have to illuminate the path.
Nancy as the leader (CEO) of her own company has also used the book to re-orient herself what are the right steps to take.
Examples of leaders and companies
Most successful companies have reinvented themselves, even many times. Some remarkable examples of compelling leaders who were instrumental in these reinventions were: Mary Barra (General Motors), Steve Jobs (Apple), and Howard Schultz (Starbucks).
The rites of passage
One of the elements of leadership rarely mentioned before “Illuminate” is the rite of passage. Companies need to let go and embrace something new, consciously. And the leader must organize this ceremony. A great example is Steve Jobs announcing the death of OS 9 during WWDC 2002.
Related: Corporate Storytelling
The Torchbearers’ Calling
“The future is a formless void, a blank space waiting to be filled and then a torchbearer envisions a new possibility. That vision is your dream, your calling, and it burns like a fire in your belly. But you can’t create the future alone; you need travelers to come along. Yet the path through the unknown is dark and unclear. You have to illuminate the path for your travelers. Torchbearers communicate in a way that conquers fear and inspires hope. Some say being a torchbearer is a burden, some say it’s a blessing. Either way, those who light the path are the ones who change the world.”
— Nancy Duarte (from the book “Illuminate”)
Good to Great by Jim Collins
Routine to Shine
Find the time in the day when you make your very best work. Protect it: don’t book meetings, calls, check social media, etc.
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