Can you communicate ideas in a way that matters?  Simon Sinek says to start with a story…a story emblematic of the end result.  If the idea doesn’t grab people they won’t spread it, and if it doesn’t spread – it will wither and die.  To change the world we need to release a powerful idea in a POWERFUL WAY.  Stories touch people on an emotional level which makes it memorable from the beginning.  

The basic story of the likeable hero who encounters problems and then emerges, transformed, has been around for centuries and is still a winning combination.  What will my story be?  I have been on both sides of that coin – having the roadblocks shut me down and bury me, and then coming at the roadblocks with an iron will and holy fire and coming out on the other side changed, baptized through the flames. 🙂  Poetic.  Hey, we have to make it interesting, right?  Where was I?  Of yes, the holy flames of my metamorphosis…

Nancy Duarte is so gifted at what she does and her simple looking yet code-cracking diagram of a speech is very impressive to me.  I feel like the combination of her knowledge and Simon’s idea of bringing a gift to the audience instead of trying to sell them something – that is undoubtedly a powerful speech making formula.  

I also found inspiration in the idea of going back between what is and what could be.  The resistance can be overcome by this simple act of going back and forth.  Walls take time to come down.  Joshua had to march around Jericho not once but a good thirteen times before those walls crumbled.  I need to be willing to take my audience on the trek between the reality and the ideal several times – until they end up adopting my vision of the new bliss and answer my call to action, transporting my little idea and giving it life-changing power!  

I love how Duarte turns the focus around and makes the audience the hero – they matter more than the speaker because they are the ones who will either transport this idea or will condemn it to stay small.  My vision will help students – the ones that struggle, the ones that give up and check out, even the ones who stress out and beat themselves up with the rod of “not good enough” when they get an A-.  But my vision will only help students if it goes “viral”.  I need my audience to buy in, sell out to the idea and run with it.

I need to find a story, a character, to invite the audience in.  My presentation needs to convince our Department head to give me PD time to train the department.  But I know in my head that my real audience is the teacher who is one year from retirement, hates her job, has been teaching the same level in the same way for decades, and despises all things digital. If I can convince that teacher, I can convince anyone.  She is my target audience – I need to keep her in mind as I create every aspect of my presentation.

So there is much to do and although I am feeling inspired by the videos and steered in the right direction by Sinek and Duarte, I still need to unearth the idea, the “what could be”, the new bliss and the transformative story that will grab said reluctant teacher and cause her in her final years to implement active learning techniques in her rigid, cold and unchanging class.  Instead of seeing a stick-in the mud that holds back progress, she is the hero who can make this idea take flight.  What a beautiful way to look at this!  


How to begin your presentation with Simon Sinek.  Retrieved from

TedXEast (2010) Nacy Duarte uncovers common structure of greatest communicators.  Retrieved from