Reviewing Resonate, Nancy Duarte’s Second Book on Presentation Development

Resonate, by Nancy Duarte, is the latest in a series of great books about how to deliver great presentations, released in recent years. It was published in the second half of 2010 and with the help of Nancy’s team, I managed to get my hands on a free review copy. It took me a while to find the time to start reading it but, once found, it turned out to be a great & fast read. Once you start it, it is hard to let it go. To find out why, check out this review.

The Presentation of the Book Resonates with Readers

Just like with Nancy’s previous book - slide:ology - Resonate simply resonates visually with its readers. The cover captures your attention immediately, the pages look, feel & smell like a top quality book. The content of the book also looks great as well: there’s a perfect balance between the amount of text in a chapter, the number of images and graphs. From a design perspective, the book is simply balanced: it is attractive, easy to browse and read.

I love the print version so much that I would never consider buying it in a digital edition. The experience would simply not compare. This book begs for you to touch it, smell it, feel it. A digital version of it would feel simply soulless. Luckily it seems that both the author and the publisher of the book agreed with me and chose to release it only in print, not in digital.


Great Presentations are Planned

Unlike, slide:ology, Resonate does not teach you how to create perfect slides. The book is about ideas and how to share them with your audience. It focuses on how to create stories to best send your message across in a convincing manner. Like with any project, Nancy Duarte recommends readers to carefully plan their presentations. It is all about being clear on the big idea you want people to resonate with and plan their journey accordingly, so that they get it. Nancy links ideas with change, and says: ’Many times there’s an internal, emotional change that must occur before people show signs of external change through their behavior’.
She advises her readers to carefully think about the reasons why people would refuse their ideas and not be willing to change so that they can plan their presentation & message accordingly. Even the most academic presentation, needs to have some form of emotional engagement which needs to be carefully planned. Therefore it is best to clearly spell out the “move from” and “move to states”. You must address resistance and clearly spell out a reward which is worth the change people need to go through.

Great Presentations are Rehearsed

The book also focuses also on the importance of preparation: ’Audience interest is directly proportionate to the presenter’s preparation.’
Nancy highlights on a regular basis how much preparation goes into all the great presentations which change the world in a meaningful manner. She also shares examples on how other people prepared their most famous speeches and how she prepared for some of her first workshops. It’s refreshing to see that she acknowledges her own past mistakes and shares them with her readers, so that we can all learn from them.
All the examples shared in the book made me realize how little people actually prepare for some of their most important presentations, and how we can seriously improve our presentation skills simply by spending more time in planning and rehearsing.

Case Studies & Practical Examples are Everywhere

One of the greatest things about this book is the fact that it is filled with study cases based on real-life presentations delivered by people and organizations such as: Ronald Reagan, Cisco Systems, Pastor John Ortberg, Steve Jobs, Martin Luther King Jr, Alfred Hitchcock, etc. As you can see, the people and companies featured in the book are very diverse. You definitely get the chance to learn something new from them!
Each chapter is accompanied by at least one study case, with a maximum of three per chapter. In some chapters you also have practical exercises. The one I liked most showed how the same message, structured in a different a way can make the difference from a demotivating presentation to a motivating one. It really made me think more about the way I’m structuring my presentations and how I could improve my approach.

Verdict – Buy

If you have read the review this far, I guess it is obvious that verdict is “buy this book!”. It is a great complement to slide:ology - How to create slides which connect you to your audience and will really help you hone your presentation skills.

Purchasing Options

If you want to purchase Resonate, you can find it on Amazon US (for North American readers) or Amazon UK (for European readers). If you purchase it using these links, we will also receive a small commission from your purchase. Thanks a lot for making any purchase using these links.

Related content:

Reviewing slide:ology - How to create slides which connect you to your audience
Presentation Zen - Review Based on a True Story
Linchpin - A Book for Both Project Managers and Their Teams


Thanks so much for the review, Ciprian! Glad you enjoyed the book.

You are welcome Nancy. Thanks for publishing such a great book and for sharing it with us.

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