Rick Altman, a presentation consultant based out of Pleasanton, CA, USA is well known as the host of the annual Presentation Summit and has a strong sense of the needs of the presentation community.
In this conversation, Rick discusses the just concluded Presentation Summit held in San Diego, and the next conference in this series to be held in Austin in September 2011.
Geetesh: Tell us more about the just concluded Presentation Summit.
Rick: In many ways, the Summit was a high-water mark for the conference. It was the first year of its new branding (having spent seven seasons as PowerPoint Live), and while we did not intentionally design our content any different, the event felt “broader” than in previous years. People have always sought more from us than just PowerPoint training, but this year the environment was even more dynamic.
Geetesh: Why do you think that was?
Rick: One reason for sure was our sharply-increased international participation. We had well over twice the number of patrons from countries outside of the United States than we usually attract, with every continent represented except for Antarctica. I don’t think that was a coincidence – if you are about to fly halfway around the world, are you going to do so for “PowerPoint training” or for “presentation skills development”? This might be largely a question of perception, but that perception came into sharp focus this year.
Geetesh: With so many sessions and interactions during the conference, what are the emerging trends that you see within the presentations industry?
Rick: Less is more. Everywhere you turned, you heard presenters espousing the need to hone and distill core messages. We saw Julie Terberg excising unnecessary text in her makeover sessions, I issued the “three-word challenge” during Monday’s general session, and in Tuesday’s keynote, Garr Reynolds extolled the virtues of “being naked.” In these myriad forms, the message became clear: don’t dump fully-composed thoughts on your slides. That’s Death by PowerPoint.
Geetesh: While the expression is well-known, is it just PowerPoint these days?
Rick: Obviously not, and that is certainly another emerging trend. We saw a sharp influx of Mac users this year and people who exhibited at least a passing interest in Keynote. One way or the other, you can expect our coverage of alternative software solutions to increase.
Geetesh: The next Presentation Summit is going to be held in Austin – why did you chose Austin?
Rick: That city has been on my personal radar for over a decade. It is a vibrant, dynamic, progressive city right in the heart of the country. It has wonderful restaurants, more live music than anywhere else in the USA, and great fall weather. So it is no wonder that the entire room let out a collective cheer when we made the announcement.
Geetesh: What can patrons look forward to?
Rick: They can look forward to our continuing to address their current needs while anticipating their future ones. They can expect the absolute highest caliber of talent amassed for those four days. And they can help with the ongoing evolution of one of the greatest communities I have ever been a part of – those who craft and deliver presentation content. Until you have been to the conference, you just can’t imagine the vitality, the energy, the almost intoxicating excitement from over 200 people all coming together to celebrate their common passion. It’s so cool I want to do it all over again next week. But I’ll wait until next September…