Site icon PowerPoint and Presenting Stuff

Presentation Summit 2020: Conversation with Rick Altman

Presentation Summit Rick Altman 2020

      Rick Altman has been hired by hundreds of companies, listened to by tens of thousands of professionals, and read by millions of people, all of whom seek better results with their presentation content and delivery. He covers the whole of the industry, from message crafting, through presentation design, slide creation, software technique, and delivery. He is the host of the Presentation Summit, now in its 18th season as the most prominent learning event for the presentation community.

In this conversation, Rick talks about his sessions at the upcoming Presentation Summit 2020, being held virtually this year from August 10 to 13, 2020. is the official media partner for the Presentation Summit.

Geetesh: Rick, we already interviewed you as the conference host. This interview is more about you as a speaker. You are delivering two sessions: Real-World Makeovers and Don’t Be Nervous. Can you tell us more about both these sessions, and what takeaways can attendees expect from them?

Rick: Real-World Makeovers is the old-war horse that I keep trotting out there. One of these days, our peeps are going to tell me that I’m old, tedious, boring, and I ought to be put down or something. But they haven’t yet, and I think that just points to the extent to which people continue to struggle with basic design principles and how they relate to good presentation practices. I don’t try to impress anyone with awesome design; I try to impress them with good, clean, simple design practices. I want them to understand that the story comes first, illustrations second, and printed words third. And that all three of them are subordinate to you, the presenter, the storyteller, the person standing in front of a room full of people — or increasingly, staring into the camera lens. I consider this seminar a success if people leave thinking, “Hey, I could have done that.”

Don’t be Nervous is another tried-and-true topic, in which I essentially mock the notion that this is good advice. It’s not! Don’t tell your friends and co-workers not to be nervous; they can’t help it if they are. And if they’re not nervous, now you should really be concerned! The objective is not to suppress nervousness; the aim is to understand it, accept it, and even embrace it. More to the point is what you can do to channel all of that nervous energy, and that is the crux of the session. There are tangible things you can do, skills you can learn, physical behaviors you can employ to allow yourself to find your most genuine self before an audience.

Geetesh: The conference is entirely virtual this year. Invariably, some attendees will multi-task, by attending sessions and performing business and other duties at the same time. What is your advice to such attendees, so that they can benefit more from the sessions and make the event more memorable?

Rick: I do have some advice for them, but really, the relevant advice around those questions needs to be offered to my presenting team. And I tell them to stop harboring any fallacy that you are going to get 100% engagement. Of course your audience members are going to multitask; of course they will have limited attention span; of course they will be distracted. That’s the nature of the beast! Don’t tilt at this windmill – accept it. In fact, accommodate it. Give the most important information on any topic right away. Make sure they hear you when you give it. Then make sure they know when you are changing topics so they can come back from their email or their worksheets or their dogs. Be overt with your transitions, raise your voice, stomp your feet. Hit them with the main thrust of your new point. And then let them do what they do.

My advice to attendees? Hit the Chat panel with zeal, talk to us, talk to one another, try to overcome the obvious engagement obstacles of the medium. Don’t obsess with catching every single word of every seminar; know that you can re-watch anything for the next six months.

Let’s see, I guess I’ll also ask that you cut us some slack if things blow up. And have faith that we will diligently direct traffic so you won’t get lost.

And perhaps above all, enjoy yourselves., and accept our gratitude for your accepting us into your homes.

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. is the official media partner for the Presentation Summit.

Date: August 10 to 13, 2020

Location: Virtual Event

Register now!


The views and opinions expressed in this blog post or content are those of the authors or the interviewees and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer, or company.