Stephy Hogan used to be a total design snob until she was thrust into the world of presentation design. Ever since she has been passionately evangelizing the field in an attempt to elevate the industry as high as its other design counterparts. She is also a web developer and believes that user experience isn’t limited to the internet and its principles apply just as strongly to presentations. She has been a designer in marketing and communications for a variety of places from small non-profits to Fortune 500 companies since 2002. Stephy is a founding board member of the Presentation Guild, a facilitator for Duarte, Inc., and a Certified Presentation Specialist.
In this conversation, Stephy talks about the Presentation Summit, being held in San Antonio, TX this year from October 6 to 9, 2019.
Geetesh: Stephy, you are doing two sessions at this year’s Presentation Summit: I Don’t Like It! and Bringing Emotion to Data. Can you tell us what will be the takeaways in these sessions for attendees?
Stephy: Sure! I think it’s safe to say that most of us have been handed some pretty heinous decks to clean up, or worse, “make pretty.” Making an ugly slide pretty isn’t going to solve the underlying problem. In I Don’t Like It! we’re going to go through examples of times when the presenter says something of the sort and learn how to identify the true underlying problems that make the slides unlikeable. Once you figure THAT out, you can usually come at the slide makeover from a different perspective. I have a few makeover techniques to share as well as how to explain the suggested changes to resistant presenters or project managers.
In Bringing Emotion to Data, we will spend a lot of time together discussing how to take slides loaded with charts and dense tables and turn them into simpler visuals that carry some emotional weight to them. That doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re looking to make people laugh or cry, rather, we aim to make an impactful connection between audience and data. We will cover topics like what makes data memorable, what makes data memorable in presentations, how to recognize data in walls of text, and how to evoke emotion using color, photography, and word choice. After that, we’ll go through some makeovers and cover software-specific tips.
Geetesh: You have been a regular at the Presentation Summit, but this year you are presenting as well. What’s your advice to those who are attending the first time: what should they expect, how should they prepare, and what they can achieve?
Stephy: I will never in a million years forget my first Presentation Summit in 2013. I experience social anxiety, believe it or not, when I am alone and facing hundreds of faces I have zero connection to. I remember going to the first food session (breakfast? I don’t know, there was cheese) on day 1 and pausing about 50 feet from the hubbub of people filling their plates with treats. I swear my heart skipped a beat, but I just took a deep break and dove right in. Christine DeLaurentis was the very first person to speak to me… some comment about cheese. I was so thrilled that I didn’t have to butt into a conversation. After that, the rest is history.
What can first-time attendees expect? That this is a conference like no other. Everyone is warm, open, kind, chatty, respectful, and down-to-earth. As a person who spends a lot of time working with PowerPoint as their #1 tool, you get used to snobbery and people looking down on you a bit when you explain what you do. Not here! These people will support and encourage you, cheer you on when you have to answer a question Rick asks you in front of a ballroom of people. You will learn SO much from so many people. The industry leaders go to this conference every year. You might be star struck with a few. That’s ok. But don’t let that prevent you from introducing yourself.
Gosh, how to prepare? um… honestly, don’t overthink it. Bring pencils and paper to scribble notes. I find it easier to do that and type things up later than try to type while a session is happening. That being said, bring your devices with you so you can experiment. Prepare yourselves for conference postpartum depression. You will be on such a nerdy high with people just like you, that it’s a little hard going home.
My two biggest tips:
- Go to every evening session or after-hours activity you can possibly get to. You won’t sleep as much but the networking is 100% worth it.
- If you signed up to play PowerPoint Trivia (and I HIGHLY suggest you do), make sure your team bribes the judges! Candy, silly little dollar store things, random shoulder rubs, and glasses of booze from the bar. I cannot stress this enough: Do not forget to bribe the judges.
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