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Illuminate: Ignite Change Through Speeches, Stories, Ceremonies, and Symbols Hardcover – February 16, 2016
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“Whether it is to well-dressed executives or begrimed young soldiers, there is a vast difference between simply transmitting information and effectively communicating. Illuminate is a tremendous guide for anyone who must educate, motivate or inspire – and that’s just about all of us.”
—General Stanley McChrystal, author of Team of Teams and cofounder of McChrystal Group
“Great leaders aren’t measured by their volume but by their ability to be truly heard. To motivate others, leaders must listen and communicate empathetically. With Illuminate, everyone can learn to lead — even without being loud.”
—Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, and cofounder of Quiet Revolution
"Duarte and Sanchez give us the unique concept that our company’s change and growth have the structure of epic drama; we make our stories through working out our difficulties. She gives an even deeper insight that we must begin our next journey before the current one ends. Most people misunderstand the role of story in our lives, but by understanding it, we can use it as a metaphor for leading."
—Ed Catmull, President of Pixar Animation Studios and Walt Disney Animation Studios, and author of Creativity, Inc
“Change can be fear-filled in prospect but fearsome in effect. With Illuminate, Duarte and Sanchez light our path through that crucial transition dazzlingly.”
—Robert B. Cialdini, author of Influence
“Leading people through change is hard to do, especially for leaders who don’t communicate well. But Illuminate makes it easy with a clear roadmap and comprehensive communication toolkit that will help any leader learn how to inspire and activate people.”
—Beth Comstock, Vice-Chair of GE
About the Author
NANCY DUARTE is a communications expert and the CEO of Duarte, Inc., the largest design firm in Silicon Valley. She is the author of Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences, Slide:ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations, and HBR Guide to Persuasive Presentations. She has been featured in Fortune, Forbes, Fast Company, Wired, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Harvard Business Review,and many other outlets.
PATTI SANCHEZ, the Chief Strategy Officer for Duarte, has distilled twenty-five years of experience as a communicator into this book. She has led transformative communications initiatives for brands including Cisco, Ericsson, Hewlett-Packard, LexisNexis, Nike, Symantec, VMware, and Compassion International, and has taught hundreds of leaders to become more empathetic and effective communicators. Her work has been honored with awards from IABC, BMA, and Vital Speeches of the Day.
Top customer reviews
Nancy and Patti will force you to look at communication and storytelling in yet another way. These ladies take one beyond the hero's journey and most importantly give leaders practical advice as to how to improve and better explain "the change" we would like our audience to experience.
Too often our audience/organization/customers/clients seem to agree on the next steps... they agree it's tactically the right way to take them... and despite you leading the way, though they are all in agreement with you, not enough follow.
Nancy and Patti will help you cross the chasm of empathy and persuasion in order to positively influence your audience.
Well why not 5 Stars?
I wish there was 2 rating systems, one for REAL Experts (like Nancy & Patti)... and one for wannabe internet experts. Because I am rating this book in light of their previous 2 books, this book is a 4 Star.
If Nancy had only written "Slideology" and skipped "Resonate", this would be a 5-Star... but in light of the HIGH BAR they have set at DUARTE, I think it's fair to say this is a 4-Star.
Don't worry, If this book is your Intro to Nancy Duarte and Patti... I promise you too will become a FAN!
Oh, and if you're wondering which of the 3 books to read first, I'd start with this book, as it feels more like an intro to Resonate,.. then Resonate, and finish with Slideology.
Really. Start with the 10 case studies—compelling/memorable—guaranteed to keep you off your $1,000 iPhone. Next, the gorgeous fold-out book summary—bound between pages 58 and 59. And the big idea: “Movements follow a story structure.”
And here’s the structure—five actions:
--Dream (the moment of inspiration)
--Leap (the moment of decision)
--Fight (the moment of bravery)
--Climb (the moment of endurance)
--Arrive (the moment of reflection)
The authors, Nancy Duarte and Patti Sanchez, have shared their firm’s trade secrets and they didn’t hold back: 321 pages of inspiration, how-to, more inspiration, more how-to, and practical detail and head-nodding context—with dozens and dozens of delicious aha! moments.
Here’s what struck me—immediately. My old school approach (30 years as a CEO):
--Identify a problem, crisis, or opportunity.
--Leverage my intuition and best practices portfolio.
--I like to write—so leverage my writing tools. (Others, I noticed, like to speak—so they leveraged their oratory to warn or inspire the troops.)
--Apply my preferred tools to the situation.
Guess what? It didn’t work that often.
But there’s still hope for you. The book’s “Communication Toolkit” tutors leaders and managers across a fascinating array of tools and action steps. Much like Ecclesiastes 3, there is a season for everything. “There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth…” (MSG).
Example: Picture a five-column grid and column headings of Dream, Leap, Fight, Climb, and Arrive. Then visualize four horizontal rows: Speeches, Stories, Ceremonies, and Symbols.
When should leaders use stories versus ceremonies? When you’re in “Fight” mode, you have two options: “Overcome the Enemy Story” or pull out your “Come From Behind Story.” But maybe…a speech would be more appropriate—like the “Underdog Speech.”
Whew! It’s all here—a toolkit, the science, the nuances, and the rich non-technical content. I’ve never, ever read a book like it. You may already employ some of these methodologies, but perhaps driven more by the coolness factor rather than a 30,000-foot intentionality.
The case studies (and mini-stories) are stunning. Example:
"Illuminate" highlights Airbnb’s beginnings, when cofounders Joe Gebbia and Brian Chesky responded to a hotel room shortage in San Francisco:
“Brian and I both quit our jobs to become entrepreneurs…[but just then] our rent went up and suddenly we found ourselves unable to afford our apartment…. That same weekend a design conference was coming to San Francisco that was so big all the hotels had sold out in the city…. We started to think creatively: What if we were able to blow up an air mattress, put it in our living room, and rent it out to designers who need a place to stay for the conference? We could go so far as to cook them breakfast, and by the end of the night we had this concept called Airbed and Breakfast…. Within 24 hours…we had people who started writing us from all over the world who wanted to stay in our living room. We made a thousand dollars and they saved our apartment.”
In the Executive Summary (available online), the authors warn: “Change Is Critical.” They add, “Businesses can choose to embrace change or ignore it—but they cannot stop it. When a company chooses not to change, the industry simply evolves past it. To thrive, organizations must continually reinvent themselves by imagining and implementing new initiatives.”
--“40% of newly created companies last less than 10 years.”
--“50% of Fortune 500 companies will be replaced by new companies in 59 years or less.”
Is your mission/movement/cause stalled, plateaued, or declining? This book will help.
The authors offer a clear model of a cycle of change, with visual as well as textual representations of the process, with plenty of examples to contextualize their general principles. Readers from outside of Silicon Valley, however, will notice an odd conceptual gap in the presumption that change must take place - an item of faith in the digital Cult of Disruption. A more reflective examination of the authentic need for transformation in business, along with an acknowledgement of the vulnerability that the push to change creates, would have strengthened the model.