Organize your slides and presentations like the pros. was developed over many years working with teams in some of the largest companies in the world who need to manage a large amount of presentation content. Now these same tools are available to every presenter.

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5 People You Meet When You Make Presentations #5: Harry Hermit

The previous installments of this series described four archetypal co-workers that may be familiar to you — Vickie Versions, Sally Sharer, Sly D’Stroyer, and Louie Lostem. Each is a team member you might not pick if you were the one assembling a presentation team. Even though we’re pretty sure they are perfectly wonderful people most of the time, they can be anything but wonderful to work with when creating or organizing slides and presentations. We would now like you to meet the fifth and final person you will meet when you make presentations…

Harry Hermit

Harry HermitHarry often seems to find himself in the barren wilderness cut off from the all the benefits of contemporary civilization due to a lack of internet connection. Sometimes it’s because he’s always on a plane or stuck in the middle of nowhere visiting remote client sites. Sometimes Harry is just the kind of guy who insists that his dial-up AOL internet access works “just fine.”

Whether he’s an intrepid explorer or a neo-luddite, Harry often needs to download shared presentation files to work on them offline and away from the team. What happens when Harry returns from his sojourns in the geographic or technological hinterlands? How can the work he did while he was away be integrated back into what the team has been doing?

Even though SlideSource is an innovative cloud-based solution to presentation management problems, it still works just fine for folks who find themselves disconnected from the cloud. Harry can easily download slides from SlideSource and work on them offline. Then when he returns from the wilderness, windblown and badly in need of a shave, he can easily upload the slides back into SlideSource.

The best part is, SlideSource will automatically recognize his slides and will return them to exactly the same place they came from, making Harry’s version the latest and greatest while retaining all the versions that came before. All tags and other information associated with the slide in SlideSource will remain, and if the updated slide is part of any presentation in SlideSource, it will be automatically updated. SlideSource will even know if anyone else has edited the slide while Harry was working  offline and will help him resolve the version conflicts.

Have any of the fine folks we have introduced you to over the last couple of months reminded you, even a little, of someone you know? It’s hard to imagine working in a collaborative environment for any length of time without having the pleasure of sharing a project with someone who at least resembles one of them. can easily accommodate your co-worker’s (or boss’s) quirks. It can also lessen the negative impact that any other slide management challenges might have on your team’s performance. We invite you to take a few minutes to visit, sign up for a free, full-featured trial account, and see for yourself.

5 People You Meet When You Make Presentations #4: Louie Lostem

The previous installments of this series introduced you to three archetypal team members you might not pick if you were the one picking the team — Vickie VersionsSally Sharer, and Sly D’Stroyer. Even though they are basically good people (they don’t kick puppies or steal candy from babies, as far as we know), they can be very painful to work with when a team is trying to make or organize slides and presentations. Today, we would like you to meet the forth member of this rogues gallery of challenging co-workers…

Louie Lostem

Louie LostemLosing hours of work due to PowerPoint ineptitude (thanks Sly) is one thing, losing them because Louie Lostem lost the slides is another. Right now, the file your team desperately needs to make a big deadline is on a thumb drive, in the left front pocket of his favorite skinny jeans, at his dry cleaners, 20 miles from the office. At least Louie’s pretty sure that’s exactly where it is.

It might also be lost in an electronic sort of way somewhere in a cryptically named folder on his laptop. Or maybe the company’s server. Or maybe it’s on Dropbox, Google Drive, One Drive, SpiderOak, or any of the other half dozen personal cloud storage accounts he uses on a strictly arbitrary basis. keeps all your slides in a centrally located, cloud-based content library that is easily accessible by all the members of your team, all the time. This means that your crucial files will never end up in the pocket of anyone’s jeans and you will always know exactly where the latest and greatest version of every slide and presentation can be found. SlideSource also supports tagging of individual slides and has a robust search function so slides are easy to find — even within the system.

It’s very possible you may be working with Louie Lostem right now. If that’s the case, please take a few minutes to visit, sign up for a free, full-featured trial account, and see how it can help your team find its way to the project’s conclusion.

A Photo Recap of the 2015 Presentation Summit

Last week, I was part of the team that traveled to New Orleans to participate in the premier annual gathering of presentation professionals: Rick Altman’s Presentation Summit.

Bob Befus and I learned from the diverse array of presenters, designers, vendors, and PowerPoint gurus that the Summit attracts each year. We greeted scores of attendees at our exhibition booth and shared freely the only cure for Presentitis. Bob gave a talk about the content management challenges that presentation files create for many organizations. I documented the week’s activities, in real time, in words and pictures on social media.

What follows is a photographic recap of most of the activities we participated in, some of which didn’t make it to our Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram feeds. Do you have any memories of the Summit that you would like to share? Please feel free to do so in the comments.


Welcome Sign

This must be the place. The meeting venue (Astor Crowne Plaza) is right at the very gateway to one of the most storied stretches of American real estate — Bourbon Street.

Bourbon Street in the Rain

My first glimpse of said real estate. No one should expect a place with Bourbon Street’s reputation to look particularly energetic or exciting so early on a rainy Sunday morning.

Conference central.

The registration desk at Conference Central – The calm before the storm.

Opening reception and Help Center.

That’s more like it. The welcome reception was well attended. In the foreground to the right you’ll see the world famous Help Center. The place to ask the experts any and all technical questions.

microsoft team

The Microsoft team being good sports during a little good-natured ribbing about some of PowerPoint’s less favored behaviors and features.

Mother's Restaurant

Mother’s Restaurant. A must see when in New Orleans. So much history, so much great food.


Nigel Holmes kicked things off with an opening keynote about using humor in presentations.

Nigel Holmes kicked things off with an opening keynote about using humor in presentations.

Mike Parkinson

Mike Parkinson held a terrific interactive session that hashed out, with the help of his audience, attributes of excellent speakers.

Alexander Hanauer

Carpe Minutam! (Seize the (first) minute). Alexander Hanauer talked about how crucial the first minute of a presentation can be. Speakers don’t need to fight for audience attention in the first minute, they already have it but but they often waste it.

Dr Carmen Simon

Dr. Carmen Simon’s keynote reminded us that “we stay in business to the extent that people remember us,” and suggested that we ask ourselves if our slides and the way we present “are making it possible for people to look away.” This is important because attention is crucial to memory.

Troy Chollar

Troy Chollar showed how being even a few tiny pixels out of place can make a huge difference when misaligned elements are projected on the big screen. You don’t want any careless or unintended design flaws to distract the audience from your message.

PPT Trivia

Rick MCing the Great PowerPoint Trivia Contest.

LiveSlides Demo

The LiveSlides team giving an impressive demonstration of one of the more practical applications of their product.


My favorite Trivia Challenge category: Shut Up, Already! In other words (see what I did there), a rousing, high-energy game of PowerPoint Charades.

Guru Session - Garr Reynolds

A little later, Ric Bretschneider MCed the late-night guru session. Garr Reynolds joined us from his office in Japan.

Guru Session - John Wilson

Then John Wilson demonstrated some software tools he developed that fix many of the things about PowerPoint that drive all of us crazy. Dubbed “Leah’s Fixes,” they were made available to Summit attendees for a donation to a fundraising effort John is supporting. His revision to PowerPoint’s align function is amazingly useful. The audience was eager to get their hands on the entire tool set. Contact John for more information about how to get the tools for yourself.

Guru Session - Microsoft Team

The guru session wrapped up with the Microsoft PowerPoint team demonstrating some of the new features of PPT 2016 and answering questions until everyone in the room was exhausted and ready to call it a day — just after midnight.


Exhibit Hall Setup

Tuesday morning started early with the exhibitors setting up their spaces for The Expo.

SlideSource Expo Booth

This was my favorite.

Guy Kawasaki

Guy Kawasaki’s much anticipated keynote kicked off Wednesday’s activities. With a title like that, you darn well better get a standing ovation at the end of your presentation. My favorite quote: “A pictures is worth a thousand words. A good demo is worth a thousand slides.”

Guy looking for slide

Guy had a little trouble tracking down a slide he wanted to share with us. Hmmm. I bet SlideSource could have helped him with that.

SlideSource giveaway

Our extremely popular expo booth giveaway. Candy-coated chocolate in pill bottles symbolizing SlideSource as the only cure for presentitis (a chronic state of frustration resulting from disorganized  presentations).


Geetesh Bajaj modeling the really cool official Summit t-shirt his company sponsored.

Keith Harmeyer

Keith Harmeyer’s afternoon keynote examined the importance of innovation. Key takeaway: In today’s world, irrelevance = extinction.

Bob Befus

Our own Bob Befus gave a presentation later that afternoon that outlined some of the reasons organizations have difficulties managing their presentation content. He also talked about how SlideSource can help with these difficulties as it was designed from the ground up to manage content that, in some ways, is never completed. His full deck is available here.


Alan Hoffler

Alan Hoffler’s keynote presentation, “What Not to Say: The 10 Dumbest Things Speakers Say,” reminded us that words can hurt. Mainly by taking the attention away from your message. Alan was also kind enough to give away the Kindle version of his provocatively titled book, Presentation Sin, free for the day. I also attended Alan’s breakout session focused on what to do when it all goes wrong during your presentation. Key take away: You have three available responses when something goes wrong. You can fix it, feature it, or forget it. You should work the problem in that order and you only feature the problem if everyone in the room is impacted.

Jonathan Schwabish

Jonathan Schwabish’s breakout session was about improving data visualizations in presentations and he showed many examples of how this can be done. My favorite idea (not counting the quote in the slide above): You don’t need to show all the data to everyone all the time.

Wow. After the last breakout session, there were still two more events – the Encore Performances and the Five Minutes Tips. We didn’t take any photos of these. The encore sessions (“Presentation Tips from the Masters” by Mike Parkinson and “Click Here, Go There” by Sandra Johnson) were, by definition, excellent. The quick tips session was a welcome respite for our severely diminished attention spans that also provided a lot of really useful information.

And so with that, we say farewell to New Orleans and 2015 Presentation Summit. We look forward to seeing you all next year.

Cafe Du Monde

Au lait et beignets at the Café du Monde.

The Indezine Interview

indezine-logo Microsoft PowerPoint MVP Geetesh Bajaj has been interviewing many of the speakers at this year’s Presentation Summit for his excellent presentation-focused website Indezine.

Today, Geetesh posted his recent interview with’s Bob Befus who spoke at the Summit on Tuesday. The interview (which can be read in its entirety here) covers several topics including how and why was developed and who a typical user would be.

Here are a couple highlights:

While presentation technology has changed dramatically over the last three decades, the systems and tools for managing all of that presentation content have not kept up. In fact, these problems have gotten worse as the creation of slides and presentations has gone from primarily being the domain of specialized design teams and individuals to being a ubiquitous activity performed across all functional areas and levels.

– – – –

While large companies have sophisticated content management systems to manage most of their communication media, presentations seem to fall through the cracks.

– – – –

Since presenters were both inside and outside the company, PowerPoint files were often sent via email to users, who often made edits to target the presentation to a specific audience. These presentations were essentially lost from that point on.

Bob’s talk at the Presentation Summit was entitled “Lost in Space! Why Presentations Fall Through the Digital Cracks.” We will be posting his slides as well as highlights from the presentation (and the Summit) over the next couple of weeks.