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  • Writer's pictureRain Bennett

Ep. 112: The Secret Power of Great Stories with Nancy Duarte

In this episode of The Storytelling Lab, Rain sits down with Nancy Duarte, a communication expert whose firm, Duarte, Inc., is the global leader behind some of the most influential visual messages in business and culture. As a persuasion expert, she cracked the code for effectively incorporating story patterns into business communications. She’s written six best-selling books, five of which have won awards. Nancy and Rain do an emotional deep dive into the secret power that all great stories yield, how to access it, and then how to use it to successfully achieve your mission.



Nancy Duarte is truly in a league of her own.

Honestly, during my conversation with her, I forgot how much of a storytelling GAWD she is.

This is the person who's had six best-selling books (five of which won awards).

This is the person whose TEDx Talk—which was about great talks and what makes them that way—gained millions of views online.

This is the person who helped Al Gore build a keynote presentation that turned into the award-winning film An Inconvenient Truth. You may have heard of it.

This is the person whose company, Duarte, Inc., has done over 10,000 presentations for about half of the world's top 50 brands.

But on this day, she was just a person I was bonding with through our shared traumatic experiences.

I was prepared for her to drop countless brand storytelling gems, which she definitely does.

But I was not prepared for all the parallels we shared in our life experiences.

We talked about it all.

We talked about abusive alcoholic parents, the impact they have on the stories we tell ourselves, and how we have to forgive them, or at least understand them, to move forward.

We talked about imposter syndrome and thinking we're not good enough, or that we don't deserve seats at the tables at which we sit.

"It is a magical power to go through a trial and come out of it changed. And if we could just perceive it as the story being a magical power of transformation I can tell, then others can be changed, too.”

This is the power of stories, in full effect.

It's a collaboration between storyteller and story listener—one that breeds a connection and strengthens that connection as the story goes continues.

And once a connection between two humans is made, magical things can happen.

I got emotional multiple times in our conversation and I'm so grateful to her for opening up and being vulnerable with me.

It is completely evident why she is one of the best storytellers in the world.

If you have a team of one or a team of many, if you have a message to share with the world, or if you want to change people with your story, this is the episode for you!


Some of the highlights of our conversation:

  • A new body of work that has Nancy feeling "sparkly"

  • Navigating trauma from abusive alcoholic parents and how to empathize with them and understand how they shaped who we are

  • "Putting on the skin of our enemies" and learning from them

  • How she, even at a young age, was industrious and inherently understood the power of persuasion

  • When she first realized the power of stories

  • Feeling out of place at big tables and how to combat that

  • How she studied countless hours of speeches and presentations to discover the secret structure of great talks

  • The most effective structure for beginners to use

  • How Duarte, Inc., became the #1 creator of slide presentations in the world—serving over half of the world's top 50 brands

  • Jim Collins's "hedgehog" concept from his book Good to Great and how Duarte found success through an economic collapse by zeroing in on one singular service and doing it better than anyone else

  • How going through a trial and coming out of it changed creates a magical power and if you tell the story of that magical power, it can change others

As always, I hope you enjoy the episode!

Peace and Love,



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