After careers in theatre and the circus, Nolan Haims moved into the world of presentation, designing presentations for Fortune 500 CEOs, leading financial institutions and all the major television networks. Nolan was the Presentation Director for Edelman, the world’s largest independent PR company. He writes about visual communication at PresentYourStory.com.
In this conversation, Nolan discusses his sessions at the upcoming Presentation Summit 2015 series.
Geetesh: Nolan, you are doing two sessions this year at the Presentation Summit called No More Bullets!: Quick solutions for transforming bullet point-laden slides and All About Imagery: The ultimate how-to guide. Can you tell us more about these sessions, and what takeaways can the audience expect?
Nolan: My first session, No More Bullets! is a quick, practical session on dealing with what I call Bullet Point Freeze—that moment when you stare at a page of text-heavy bullet points, know it is not good presentation practice, and yet find yourself at a loss as to how to put anything else on the screen. Through some very simple techniques, it’s possible to quickly transform any set of bullet points into a much more visual and effective layout. In addition to an explanation of just why bullet points are genuinely the worst way to deliver content and tricks for quickly converting those bullet points into something better, I’ll also show multiple real-world examples of slides that were brought back to life from bullet point death.
All About Imagery is an in-depth session that focuses on the use (and abuse) of imagery in presentations from sourcing to effectively selecting to editing to inserting and laying out in your presentations. Most people realize the importance of imagery in presentation these days (although I’ll still offer helpful reminders…), but then fall short in how they select and implement that imagery. Just going to Google, stealing an image and placing it to the right of your bullet points doesn’t cut it anymore. We’ll discuss why those cutesy image metaphors—such as kids selling lemonade—should be avoided, and how to harness professional graphic design principles for layout such as negative space, the rule of thirds, balance, contrast and eye gaze. And I’ll even let you in on some designer secrets that can help placate overly picky clients such as cutting the heads of off your image subjects..
Geetesh: You’ve been part of the Presentation Summit for several years — can you share your thoughts about how this event benefits new attendees, and also how it helps repeat visitors?
Nolan: There is simply no other conference like the Presentation Summit in existence, and by that I mean that there literally is no other gathering dedicated to presentation despite the fact that millions of presentations are being created daily in offices around the world. The creating and delivering of presentations can be a lonely endeavor—and the vast majority of people who do so as part of their livelihood have never had any presentation training and have few resources online to advance their skills and improve efficiency. And so, the Presentation Summit provides an immersive experience for attendees to learn to present better and to meet others in their exact situations. There is simply no way an attendee can leave without knowing significantly more about effective presentation and the current state of the industry than they did prior the conference.
One of the reasons for these learnings—and something that I think benefits repeat attendees—is the direct access to the industry’s best thinkers and practitioners. The Summit is a relatively small conference (always under 200) and an incredibly friendly and casual one in which attendees and speakers mingle morning, noon and night in sessions and talk-backs, at meals, and at sponsored social events. There is even an official help center manned by a team of PowerPoint MVPs (industry professionals designated by Microsoft as technical experts) that offers 1-on-1 guidance and solutions to just about any challenge one might have with PowerPoint. Even as a speaker myself, I have spent time at the help center, in sessions and elsewhere learning new tricks and solutions to my own presentation problems. I never leave a Summit without knowing a great deal more than I did when I arrived. It’s the reason I keep going back and back!
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: September 27 to 30, 2015
Location: Astor Crowne Plaza, New Orleans, USA