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. He has also authored books on PowerPoint.
In this conversation, Rick discusses the Template Contest for the upcoming Presentation Summit 2011, being held in Austin this September.
Geetesh: How was the template contest for this year’s upcoming Presentation Summit different?
Rick: This was the first year that we received all submissions in version 2007 or 2010 format – no version 2003 entries at all. While we know that there are still many organizations using Office 2003, the tide has finally turned with our audience. Among 2011 signups so far, this year, those identifying themselves as version 2003 will make up a very small minority. That said, few of the entrants are taking advantage of the modern features. For instance, few of the slide masters we inspected actually created additional placeholders and nobody divided slides into Sections. We find that to be pretty common – long-time users still think like version 2003 users – and we suspect the sessions this year that speak to these points will be well-received.
Geetesh: What do you look for within a template while deciding a winner?
Rick: Above all, the template needs to wear well. After all, it will be shown across four days, in four venues, from 8:30 am until 5:00 pm. Any template that was created to show off one’s technical prowess was immediately rejected, and templates created to show off one’s design skills needed to have shown off one’s restraint. Templates that are too loud are rarely worthy contenders, as our template needs to be able to act as the backdrop for examples of the work or concepts that are being addressed in any particular session. That’s a fine line to balance on: being neutral and understated, yet professional and attractive.
Rick: Tany Nagy struck that balance. She took nicely balanced colors and blended them with “Texas-like” motifs. She didn’t try for too much and yet she created interesting visuals.