Presentation Design: A Management Philosophy

It’s hard to stop Nancy Duarte once she gets started talking about design. And that’s exactly what happened when she met Jimmy Guterman, executive editor of MIT Sloan Management Review, at the most recent TED conference. It’s no surprise that Nancy views the world through a design lens, a skill which she has used to help world-renowned executives, politicians and thought leaders develop presentations, but it may surprise some to know that it is also her personal management philosophy. She sat down with Jimmy and shared her thoughts about how design thinking can be the one of the most powerful tools for effective management.

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“Design is used to convey many ideas… but design is also crafting communications to answer audience needs in the most effective way. This type of  ‘design thinking’–the adoption of a design methodology into an organization’s communications platform–can motivate employees to pull together in times of difficulty, turn supporters of a cause into evangelists or influence consumers to remain loyal to a brand even if there is a less costly option.”

“Creating clarity through context and meaning is at the heart of it,” says Nancy. Managers can spend a lot of time clarifying. Managers are often the bridge between stakeholders and their teams. This makes communication an essential tool for moving goals forward. “Often managers…rely heavily on data and information to tell the story and miss the opportunity to create context and meaning…leaving lots of room for interpretation, which can spawn multiple cycles and limit advancement.” Getting to the point quickly and aligning resources is more valuable and critical to the success of a company than ever before. Read more about Nancy Duarte and Garr Reynolds’ thoughts on How to Become A Better Manager By Thinking Like A Designer. (Note: sign up is required.)

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