PowerPoint and Presenting Stuff

Presentation Summit 2016: Conversation with Rick Altman

Rick Altman is a California-based presentation consultant who has been helping organizations communicate better in public since before Microsoft developed PowerPoint. He has been hosting end-user conferences since 1989 and is the host of the annual Presentation Summit, now in its 14th season.

In this conversation, Rick discusses the upcoming edition of his Presentation Summit conference, to be held in October 2016 in Las Vegas.

Geetesh: Rick, tell us more about the upcoming Presentation Summit in Las Vegas this October. Also, why did you choose Las Vegas?

Rick: I feel like a teenager having asked the homecoming queen to go to the prom with me. And she said yes: Nancy Duarte will be our Monday morning keynote speaker. And she’s not just blowing in and out — she will participate in a roundtable Sunday evening, a QA session after the keynote on Monday, and probably stay into the evening.

She has spoken at the conference before. However, the demands on her time are so high, all of the planets have to align for it to happen. We inquire regularly but I know the chances are usually slim. This year, everything worked out and we could not be more excited about that.

Why did we choose Las Vegas? Las Vegas has a lot of positives and a few negatives, and for years, the negatives were too much to bear. The Las Vegas Strip is gigantic, impersonal, loud, and a bit unkempt. All of the things that we are not! But over the years, the neighboring areas have really matured and they are different. In the town of Henderson, which is about five miles from both the airport and the south end of the Strip, we found a wonderful resort—relatively small, spacious ballrooms, gorgeous pool area, avoidable casino. So very un-Striplike.

But people can still visit the Strip. It’s a free 10-minute shuttle ride, so we can take in all of the great shows and restaurants and those who want to be part of that whole scene certainly can.

Geetesh: Last year, you also had smaller 30-minute sessions. Are they going to be back this year too?

Rick: Yes, we think that experiment was a big success. I don’t care what age you are, your attention span is just not the same in the afternoon as it is first thing in the morning, especially when we are stuffing you with so much information. Our so-called Tapas sessions were our response to that, and everyone appreciated the quicker pace after lunch.

The other benefit is that it allows us to cover topics that would otherwise be difficult. You don’t need an hour to show someone how to, say, customize their Quick Access Toolbar, so we never held a seminar about it. But in 20 minutes, we can show people what the QAT is and share with them how the experts use it.

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