Presentation Summit 2016: Conversation with Heather Ackmann

Wednesday, August 24, 2016
posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 4:15 AM IST



Heather AckmannHeather Ackmann is a Microsoft MVP and full-time author and trainer for AHA Learning Solutions, specializing in Microsoft Office, business professional, and soft skills training videos and educational materials. In her spare time, she enjoys blogging at heatherackmann.com and crocheting hats and scarves for her children who refuse to wear hats and scarves.

In this conversation, Heather discusses her sessions at the upcoming Presentation Summit 2016 series.

Geetesh: Can you tell us more about your Present Like a Hottie session at this year’s Presentation Summit?

Heather: Sure. Looking for images about web conferencing or the like, you might notice a bit of a disconnect between how people expect you to look from a home webcam versus what you actually look like.

The session is for anyone who presents in less than ideal environments, like their homes or trendy “open space” offices, in front of a webcam in real-time or recorded with or without a camera (in other words, with just the sound of their voice over PowerPoint or Keynote slides or video).

Geetesh: How did you come up with the title and idea for this session? What takeaways can attendees anticipate from your talk?

Heather: Actually, the title for this session was a collaborative effort between Rick Altman and myself. I still can’t say the title of my own session without giggling a bit. I’ll have to practice that before show time.

The idea for this session came from a very personal experience. You see, back in January, I was laid off from my dream job. Overnight, I went from a full-time employee of a large corporation with every resource you could possibly imagine to it being just me, doing the same job I’ve always done—doing webinars and making computer training videos—only now from the guest bedroom [cough…junk room] in my home. I needed to buy a lot of equipment and fast but couldn’t afford a lot right away. But, I did it and rather successfully, I might add.

The fact is, corporate America is going 1099 and it is up to us as contractors to research, purchase, and maintain the equipment and environment for all this technical stuff: microphones, cameras, lighting, backdrops, software, pop filters, acoustical foam, you name it. This session is designed to teach attendees what to buy on a budget to create a simple home studio to look and sound like the hot, sexy professionals they are.

Here are some of the key takeaways:

  1. How to light a face to hide a double chin/bald spot
  2. What is the best and cheapest webcam on a budget?
  3. What kind of microphone should I buy?
  4. How to adjust your microphone so you don’t sound like you are recording in the bathroom

Geetesh: You’ve attended several Presentation Summit conferences, and now you are part of the speaker team. What message do you have for new attendees to the conference? What can they do to maximize their time while attending?

Heather: First off, to new attendees, I have to say do not treat this conference like other conferences. Usually, there is this distance or separation between the audience and the presenters. The presenters do their thang, if the audience wants to ask a question, they line up after the sessions, ask their one carefully crafted question, and then that audience member may never see that speaker again during the conference. Not at the Presentation Summit. Attendees, presenters, Microsoft staff and developers, sponsors—everyone will be mingling throughout the conference in one big awesome story-telling and educational community. It will be fun, loud, and awesome. Don’t expect to sleep much. So, pack comfortable shoes. Stay hydrated. And plan for a day off after the conference is over for sleep. You’ll need it.

Presentation Summit 2016

What is the Presentation Summit?

For many years now, Rick Altman has been hosting the Presentation Summit, a highly popular event that is geared towards users of PowerPoint and other presentation platforms.

Date: October 23 to 26, 2016

Location: Green Valley Ranch, Las Vegas, United States

Register now!

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