Presentation Summit 2019: Conversation with James Ontra

Presentation Summit 2019: Conversation with James Ontra

Created: Friday, September 6, 2019 posted by at 9:45 am

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James Ontra

James Ontra
James Ontra is co-founder and CEO of Shufflrr.  His 30-year career has focused on the highest-profile presentations for world-class companies.  His clients have included:  American Express, Bloomberg, Epcot Center, Mercedes Benz, NBC Olympics, Warner Bros. and many more.  His vision and strategy have been driving Presentation Management to become a recognized communication discipline.  James combined this passion with technical development to build Shufflrr. Presentation Management is smart communication strategy.

In this conversation, James talks about the Presentation Summit, being held in San Antonio, TX this year from October 6 to 9, 2019.

Geetesh: James, please tell us about Shufflrr and presentation management. Also, what brings you to the Presentation Summit in San Antonio?

James: This is our third year at the Presentation Summit. Hands down. It is the #1 gathering for presentation professionals anywhere. Rick and his team have a created a relaxed environment where we can exchange ideas and insights. We connect, we make friends and we leave here smarter and better, which means the presentation economy is stronger and better for it. Plus it’s a ton of fun.

As far as presentation management and Shufflrr, we see presentations as an under-appreciated medium. They don’t get the respect they deserve, even though the impact on the organization is huge. This is because presentations given today are one-n-done; one person preparing a presentation for single meeting to a single audience. This disparate production of presentations scatters the intelligent and quality content within them, arguably some of the company’s best expertise, across the enterprise. No one knows where anything is, how to find it, so the next time someone needs to make a deck, they start their one-n-done deck all over again. Presentation management strategy consolidates these intelligent assets, these presentations assets, into one cohesive story, that anyone in the company can then re-use and re-organize for their next meeting. Everyone benefits.

Let’s take movies as an example. If the director, camera-person, actor and wardrobe are all in different rooms, doing their own thing, then how do you think that movie would turn out? Would you pay $20 to go see it?

Presentation management is the strategy whereby a company creates, distributes, re-purposes, presents, shares, broadcasts, tracks and updates all of their content for presentations.

Shufflrr is presentation management.

Geetesh: Can you tell us more about how artificial intelligence can help users create better slide decks? Please share some scenarios.

James: Presentations are stories and every slide is a scene. In the very near future, AI will suggest slides to support the story you are telling. Today, during a typical conversation, you will pull up a picture or a video on your phone to help support your story. When we talk to each other, the conversation meanders from one topic to the next. No sooner do I mention my vacation to Disney World than I am showing you my selfie with Mickey Mouse. Your phone is slide presentation. Every image is formatted as a slide, every website is a slide and every video… a slide, formatted and ready to present.

Now, add AI and voice recognition to that. AI will become the photo gallery of slides offered to the presenter as their conversation progresses. You won’t have to search through your photo library to find that selfie or slide library to remember the specific slide, your phone will suggest them for you.

  1. In sales — AI will provide instant product specs as the customer asks for them.
  2. In a debate – AI will provide formatted research statistics.
  3. In a classroom – AI will provide the images, data and other visual cues so students can get a deeper understanding of the subject.

What it all means is… that the speaker is freed up from technology, they don’t have to be a tech wizard to drive their presentation anymore and they can focus on the person. AI might actually free us from the very devices that we have become enslaved to.

What is the Presentation Summit?

Presentation Summit 2019

Presentation Summit 2019

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. 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

Register now!


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