Presentation Summit 2015: Conversation with Rick Altman

Created: Friday, May 1, 2015, posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 4:00 am

Updated: at

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 13th season.

In this conversation, Rick discusses the upcoming twelfth edition of his Presentation Summit conference, to be held in September 2015 in New Orleans.

Geetesh: Tell us more about the Presentation Summit returning to New Orleans this year.

Rick: For many of our patrons and staff, 2007 was a highlight of our entire conference experience. Just two years after Hurricane Katrina, it was more than just a conference experience. It was almost like a catharsis to be able to participate in breathing a bit of new life into that battered city. We were treated warmly by many of the business establishments, almost like heroes, and it created a unique vibe.

Except for San Diego, this will be the first time we will be returning to a city. That’s how special we think New Orleans is as a destination city. We will be in the heart of the French Quarter and our team has already found us some great places to go in the evenings.

Geetesh: What about the schedule itself? What can you share?

Rick: There is plenty to share, starting with the announcement of Guy Kawasaki as one of our keynote speakers. His experience and perspective on communication is incomparable and his passion and charisma are off the charts. The response to the announcement has been crazy good and I kind of feel like a kid all over again.

As to how we got him, we share an affinity for the cloud-based graphics service, Canva — and that gave us some common ground around which to start a conversation.

Picture source: Resources

Geetesh: Rick, can you tell us about the new 20-minute seminars and the speakers?

Rick: About the 20-minute seminars, we’re calling them our Tapas sessions, named after the small-plate style restaurants that are becoming so popular. We have found two things over the years: there are topics that would be of interest to our patrons that don’t need a full hour; and in the afternoon, people’s attention spans start to wane a bit. So on two of our afternoons, we are replacing a one-hour time slot with a collection of shorter sessions. We think our folks will love it. Not so sure what our AV techs will think — they’ll be running around like crazy — but it should be worth it.

You will notice several new names on the speaker list. And many of them make up an interesting story. Last year, we had a wonderful influx of talented designers, attending for the first time. And they were young! Or maybe it just seemed that way as I get older, but some of them are literally half my age. And a few of them were candid in their observations that our Design track didn’t offer enough substance for them. They loved our geek track and all of the other aspects of the conference, but they wanted to see a bit more weight on the subject of good presentation design. So I did what any breathing person would do: I hired them! Their perspective and their stories are unique and I think they will add to our mix in a wonderful way.

I’m also really excited to be bringing back Carmen Simon and Nigel Holmes, two of our most popular keynoters of all. And Garr Reynolds will make his usual live-remote appearance from his home in Japan.


What else would I like to tell people? Sign up soon — we’re going to sell out. Is that too salesy? Do I sound like a used car salesman? I’m just excited. I am. I can’t wait. I wish we could hold it this month.

See Also: Rick Altman on Indezine

Categories: interviews, powerpoint, presentationsummit

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