PowerPoint Live 2009: Conversation with Rick Altman

Created: Tuesday, October 27, 2009, posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 7:41 am



Rick Altman is a presentation consultant based out of Pleasanton, CA. Rick is well known as the host of the annual PowerPoint Live User Conference and has a strong sense of the needs of the presentation community. In this conversation, Rick discussed the recently-completed conference that was held in Atlanta, October 2009 and the big news he made for 2010.

Geetesh: Seven conferences in four cities — how has the journey been, and tell us more about the just concluded PowerPoint Live conference in Atlanta.

Rick: The journey has been almost magical. I have been organizing user conferences similar to this one for 20 years, and I have never met a community of professionals so willing to meet, interact, and connect in such meaningful ways.

The 2009 conference was comprised of over 2/3 first-timers, but by the middle of Day Two, you would think you were attending a 20-year reunion. It was as if they had known each other for years. I’m proud to be the one who has created this opportunity, but I take credit for none of the magic that we saw in Atlanta. The patrons get all of the props for creating an extraordinary atmosphere and environment in which to learn, share, and bond.

Geetesh: The next year’s conference moves back to San Diego with a new name — what does this change of name mean for the attendees?

Rick: Our debut of the Presentation Summit in 2010 does not signal our intention to change our content; it reflects a metamorphosis that has already taken place. I think back to our first year in 2003 — we were just all about PowerPoint. But since then, our offerings have been much more broad, and becoming moreso each year. Now our seminars focus on crafting strong messages, telling impactful stories that resonate with emotion, designing presentation content that focuses on the audience’s needs, and designing slides that invite the audience in and help the presenter engage. We still have a track on software technique, and of course, there is the Help Center, which is the ultimate haven for PowerPoint junkies.

We recognize that 99% of our patrons use PowerPoint and that is likely to be the case for years to come. But that is not all they use and that is not all they need to know. Our rebranding is an acknowledgment of the growth that we have experienced over the past six years, not an indication that we are about to move in some radical direction. We’re not — it’s not broken, and we don’t need to overhaul it.

Geetesh: Any photos available from this year.

Rick: Hundreds. I think the best ones are part of our memories video that we played the morning of the final day: www.pptlive.com/video.htm.

Categories: interviews, powerpointlive

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