Episode Number 89Nancy Duarte on Narrowing Focus

Nancy Duarte is an expert in presentation design and principal of Duarte Design, where she has served as CEO for 21 years. Nancy speaks around the world, seeking to improve the power of public presentations. She is the author of Slide:ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations, Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences, and the recent HBR Guide to Persuasive Presentations.

Show Notes

Every now and then, The Work Talk Show is just too much fun. That’s a perfect way to describe this week’s episode featuring presentation expert Nancy Duarte. DJ even made the journey down the road to do this show partially live (Nick jealously Skyped in). When we weren’t gushing about our mutual friend Ann Handley, Nancy shared a secret that can help you tell a story and build a business.

By narrowing your focus, you end up with ideas that are more bold and a business designed to meet a very specific need. While Duarte Design has been around since 1988, it wasn’t until they narrowed their focus to presentations in 2001 that the phone started ringing off the hook — even in challenging economic time. Nancy also shared with us how her role as CEO has changed during their recent growth. Essentially she’s shifted from being the craftsperson to the manager. As she told us, her biggest shift was when they hired a president to run the firm’s day-to-day operations.

What Are the 3 Apps Nancy Can’t Live Without? Email (she apologized that she didn’t have something more interesting), PowerPoint (get this — she doesn’t just design presentations with PPT, she actually writes in the program as well), and Google Maps.

Shout-outs and Shameless Plugs! Nick plugged his upcoming, nationally ranked digital marketing conference, the Social Brand Forum, featuring many past Work Talk Show guests. Get a special rate using promo code worktalk. DJ gave a shout to our mutual friend Ann Handley. Nancy kept the Handley love going with a plug for Ann’s new book Everybody Writes as well as Nancy’s free ebook SlideDocs.

Finally, as always, we gave a shout to our tireless Chief Technical Officer Jess Ostroff at Don’t Panic Management.

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Until next week, we'll see you on the Internet!