A Microsoft PowerPoint MVP since 2000, Echo Swinford began her PowerPoint career in 1997. She holds a master's degree in new media from the Indiana University School of Informatics and is the owner of Echosvoice, a PowerPoint consulting firm specializing in custom template development, presentation creation, makeovers and cleanup, and training for large and small corporate clients. Echo has written and co-written five PowerPoint books, developed a number of video publications, and has a string of tech editing credits to her name. She is the President of the Presentation Guild, a not-for-profit trade association for the presentation industry.
In this conversation, Echo talks about the Presentation Summit, being held in San Antonio, TX this year from October 6 to 9, 2019.
Geetesh: Echo, you are doing two sessions this year, along with Julie Terberg. These are Template Talk, Part 1 and Template Talk, Part 2. Tell us more about these sessions, and what knowledge you expect the attendee already possesses before participating in these sessions?
Echo: Julie and I have been leading the Sunday templates workshop for many years. We love doing it because it’s such a geeky niche subject near and dear to our hearts, but honestly, it’s a difficult session to prepare. We have a bunch of folks who’ve attended for as long as we’ve been giving it! We love having them attend and geek out with us about PowerPoint templates, but striking the balance between information that will help the experienced template builder (who potentially has attended our workshop multiple times) and information that will help those not as experienced in template building is always a challenge.
So this year we thought we’d bring the session into the main conference and split it up. We think this will be better for the patrons overall. In Part 1, we’ll cover a lot of those basics that people – who may even be experienced PowerPoint users but who don’t necessarily build a lot of PowerPoint templates – simply may not know. We’ll talk about color and fonts themes, creating custom layouts, how to strip those Office Theme variants, and some gotchas to watch out for. Even if you build templates all the time but could use a refresher on any of these, then definitely attend Part 1. Part 2 will build on those basics and is aimed at a more advanced template builder.
I’d say that Part 1 is for folks new to building PowerPoint templates and for those who haven’t attended one of our template workshops before. Part 2 is for those who build PowerPoint templates more frequently, who already know the basics we covered in Part 1, and who may need to push the envelope a bit in their templates.
Geetesh: This is the first year when you are doing a Certification Prep Workshop on Saturday, representing the Presentation Guild. Tell us about this session: please share your thoughts about the attendee profile, what will they learn, how they will gain, and more. Also, I believe this is a seven-hour workshop! How do you do it?
Echo: Omigosh, I am so excited to teach this course! As you know, the Presentation Guild has been working for years to develop certifications for presentation professionals. Our first exam will be for Certified Presentation Specialists. For this level of certification, you’re required to document 1000 hours (~6 months) of experience, pass a multiple-choice exam, and complete a practical exam.
The exams themselves are based on the Presentation Industry Professional Standards, which the Guild published in 2017. The standards are divided into nine broad categories, and the multiple-choice exam questions are based on these standards. The practical exam consists of nine PowerPoint files, one representing each category. For that part, you’ll be required to perform various tasks and upload the completed files.
This workshop is to help you prepare to take the exams. That might sound crazy for an experienced PowerPoint user, but believe me – I’ve taken that test, and it’s hard! No matter how experienced you are, you’ll want to study for this exam, and the Certification Prep Workshop is one way you can begin preparing.
We also have a study guide, which is available free to Guild members. (If you’re not a Guild member, you can purchase it for $25.) The study guide gives more specifics on what to study and practice as you prepare to take the exam. We’ll be using that as the basis for the Certification Prep Workshop, doing deep dives into the various standards as needed.
I know an all-day course seems like a really long time, but with nine categories of standards, we’ll actually average less than an hour on each overall. We’ll focus on areas that might be especially tricky or where people might need extra explanation. I teach all-day workshops often, and I’m confident the day will fly by!
You can download the Presentation Industry Professional Standards and the Study Guide from the Presentation Guild’s website.
What is the Presentation Summit?
For nearly two decades, Rick Altman has been hosting the Presentation Summit, a highly popular event that is geared towards users of PowerPoint and other presentation platforms.
Indezine.com is the official Media Partner for the Presentation Summit.
Date: October 6 to 9, 2019
Location: Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa, San Antonio, TX, United States