Last week, I was part of the SlideSource.com 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.
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.
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.
The registration desk at Conference Central – The calm before the storm.
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.
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. 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.
Mike Parkinson held a terrific interactive session that hashed out, with the help of his audience, attributes of excellent speakers.
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’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 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.
Rick MCing the Great PowerPoint Trivia Contest.
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.
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.
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.
Tuesday morning started early with the exhibitors setting up their spaces for The Expo.
This was my favorite.
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 had a little trouble tracking down a slide he wanted to share with us. Hmmm. I bet SlideSource could have helped him with that.
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).
Keith Harmeyer’s afternoon keynote examined the importance of innovation. Key takeaway: In today’s world, irrelevance = extinction.
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’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’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.
Au lait et beignets at the Café du Monde.