Persuasive communication expert Nancy Duarte talks about the impact of contrast in presentations.

After gleaning story insights from films and books, studying hundreds of speeches, and spending 22 years creating customized presentations for companies and thought leaders, we discovered that the most persuasive communicators create conflict by juxtaposing what is with what could be.

That is, they alternately build tension and provide release by toggling back and forth between the status quo and a better way—finally arriving at the “new bliss” people will discover by adopting the proposed beliefs and behaviors. That persuasive structure happens within the basic beginning-middle-end storytelling structure.


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