CNLP 214: Nancy Duarte on What All Great Speeches and Talks Have in Common, The Biggest Communication Mistakes Preachers and Speakers Make, and How Speaking is Changing

Nancy Duarte is one of the leading experts in communication today, having advised and consulted 25 out of 35 of the biggest companies in the world and advised 84% of all top tech companies. Nancy talks about the biggest mistakes preachers and communicators make, what all great talks have in common, and gives practical advice about how to cope with changing expectations around communications.

Welcome to Episode 214 of the podcastListen and access the show notes below or search for the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts and listen for free.

Guest Links

Nancy on LinkedIn | Twitter |

TED Talk: The Secret Structure of Great Talks


Resonate – Read the Free E-Book


More Duarte Resources

Links from this Episode

Thank you for an incredible book launch week! Didn’t See It Coming is reaching so many and I appreciate all of your feedback. If you haven’t yet, could you leave a review? I’d love to know what you think.

Don’t have your copy yet? Head over to to order yours today. And don’t forget to take the quizzes on burnout and cynicism while you’re there.

Are your church volunteers ready for the fall? Visit TrainedUp and use promo code CAREY for 10% off your services for life! Book your free demo today.


Catch Carey on the road:

Deep & Wide Tour in Irvine, CA – September 17, 2018

Orange Tour in Irvine, CA – September 18, 2018

Future Forward Conference in Pittsburgh, PA – October 2-3, 2018

3 Insights from this Episode

1. The best communicators know how to empathize with the room

To really penetrate the hearts of people, your message needs to be about them. A communicator has to understand what a day looks like in the audience’s shoes.

When you look at life through the lens of another person, that’s empathy. Empathy is the key to communicating in an effective way.

2. Having a listening device in place can keep people invested in your story

Everyday the people you’re leading approach your message with a question – do I want to  stay a part your story or remove myself from it? If you don’t have the message they need to keep them moving forward – then you lose AND they lose.

Sometimes leaders get caught up in their own to-do lists and drive talks focused on personal motives. Some type of listening device should be in place that bridges the gap between a leader’s agenda and the needs of those around him. Knowing what’s on the minds of the people you’re speaking to is so important. It can give them the fuel they need to stay in your story.

3. There’s a crucial link between communication and change

Leading through change is challenging. There’s a structure to change – a story-like pattern – and the type of communication a leader chooses while navigating others through the journey matters.

Nancy’s book Illuminate covers the 5 steps of communication that drive big change, Here’s a short overview, but you can dig even deeper here.

Dream & Leap – The beginning phase where you cast the dream (and when most everyone’s eager for the journey ahead)

Fight & Climb – The messy middle where everyone realizes how hard change really is (and how to push through)

Arrive – The end result where you take ownership in where you landed (whether in victory or failure)

Quotes from This Episode

Didn’t See It Coming is Available Now!

Here’s what Nancy Duarte has to say about my new book, Didn’t See It Coming: Overcoming the 7 Greatest Challenges That Nobody Expects and Everyone Experiences:

Communication skills are only half the battle in leadership and life. If we’re honest, the real struggle happens inside our hearts and souls. Nieuwhof’s new book provides expert guidance in the life issues that make or break us as leaders and as people. He addresses each issue honestly and with an accuracy that pierces the heart.”

Curious as to what’s inside for you? In Didn’t See It Coming, I tackle the seven core issues that take people out: cynicism, compromise, disconnectedness, irrelevance, pride, burnout, and the emptiness of success and provides strategies on how to combat each.

I wrote the book because no 18 year old sets out to be cynical, jaded and disconnected by age 35. Yet it happens all the time.

The good news is, it doesn’t have to be that way.

Here’s what top leaders are saying about Didn’t See It Coming:

“Seriously, this may be the most important book you read this year.” Jud Wilhite, Lead Pastor, Central Church

“Powerful, personal, and highly readable. ” Brian Houston, Global Senior Pastor, Hillsong

“Whatever challenge you’re facing, whatever obstacle you’re hoping to overcome, whatever future you dream or imagine, there is something powerful for you here.” Andy Stanley, Founder, North Point Ministries

“Uncommonly perceptive and generous…You have to read this book.” Ann Voskamp, NYT bestselling author

“Masterful.” Reggie Joiner, CEO Orange

“Deep biblical insight, straightforward truth, and practical wisdom to help you grow.” Craig Groeschel, Pastor and NYT bestselling author

“This book is sure to help you.” Daniel H. Pink, NYT bestselling author

Over the years, one of the things I’ve enjoyed most about being a public speaker is having opportunities to hang out with Carey…It’s not a matter of if you’ll run into these challenges; it’s a matter of when. Be prepared by spending a little time with a leader who has already been there.” Jon Acuff, NYT best-selling author

“A refreshingly transparent guide for all leaders in a wide variety of industries.” Bryan Miles, Co-Founder and CEO, BELAY

You can learn more and get your copy of Didn’t See It Coming here.

The podcast releases every Tuesday morning

Subscribe for free and never miss out on wisdom from world-class leaders like Brian Houston, Andy Stanley, Louie Giglio, Ravi Zacharias, Craig Groeschel, Sue Miller, Kara Powell, Chuck Swindoll, Greg McKeown, Jon Acuff and many others.

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Appreciate This? Rate the Podcast.

Hopefully, this episode has helped you lead like never before. That’s my goal. If you appreciated it, could you share the love?

The best way to do that is to rate the podcast on Apple Podcasts and leave us a brief review! You can do the same on Stitcher and on TuneIn as well.

Your ratings and reviews help us place the podcast in front of new leaders and listeners. Your feedback also lets me know how I can better serve you.

Thank you for being so awesome.

Next Episode: You Never Thought You’d Be a Cynic, Did You? Free Audio Book Bonus. Chapter One of Didn’t See It Coming

In this episode, Carey shares the audio book version of Chapter One of his new book, Didn’t See It Coming. Chapter One chronicles how cynicism starts in the heart of most leaders, how to know you’ve grown cynical and begins to point toward a cure. The full audio book is available wherever audio books are sold.      

Subscribe for free now and you won’t miss Episode 215.

CNLP 214: Nancy Duarte on What All Great Speeches and Talks Have in Common, The Biggest Communication Mistakes Preachers and Speakers Make, and How Speaking is Changing


  1. Patti on October 5, 2018 at 9:46 am

    Funny how God’s timing is perfect. My husband and I had an intense discussion before I left the house this morning. On the way to work, I was listening to this episode. What Nancy had to say about Empathy was just what I needed to hear! Empathy is supposedly in my top 5 SF’s. Communication “has to be how they (the person/people you are speaking to) receive information. I need to allow Empathy to shape my delivery, especially when speaking to my husband and others that I love. Thank you for this excellent podcast!

  2. Mike Duke on September 11, 2018 at 9:24 am

    “Even if I am unskilled in speaking, I am not so in knowledge.”
    And …
    “For the time is coming when the people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions.”

    Great corporate or organizational information. Sadly, completely opposite of scripture and falls into a great chasm between historical Christianity and modern day.
    Thanks for sharing though.

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