Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Why the Presentation Summit? An Interview with Rick Altman

This week on our blog, we have a virtual interview with Rick Altman, the man behind the Presentation Summit. If you want to learn amazing and helpful presentation tricks and best practices that will blow the socks off your audience, then check out the Presentation Summit this year in New Orleans, LA, from Sept. 27-30. It's a must-attend event for anyone wanting to take their presentations to the next level of success. 

And because he's an awesome guy, Rick is giving our readers $75 OFF the conference price for a limited time. Enter NOLA75 in the client code field when you register online.

BDG (Mike Parkinson): What can attendees expect to get out of the Presentation Summit? What will they learn?

Rick Altman: We cover the whole of the presentation experience: message crafting, presentation design, slide creation, software technique, and delivery. We cover all of this through seminars, workshops, discussions, and a hands-on help center.

BDG: By software, you mean PowerPoint?

RA: Yes, but not exclusively. We acknowledge that 99% of our patrons use PowerPoint, but not only PowerPoint. They need to know about complementary software like image-editing and graphic apps, charting tools, plug-ins and add-ins, and cloud-based services. And they need to know about the alternatives to PowerPoint, as well. You might not be destined to become, say, Prezi users for life, but you would still benefit from knowing its value and the scenario in which you might want to turn to it. And hey, if you end up converting to a PowerPoint alternative because it's the better tool for you and we're the ones who exposed you to it, that's a win-win.

BDG: How does the Presentation Summit differ from other conferences?

RA: Because we have great people like you attending!

BDG: (Laughs) Okay, besides that!

RA: In all seriousness, that's not far from the truth. I think the world of the conference-attending public. They seek to enrich their lives with educational experiences and to step outside of their comfort zones and their daily routines. Those are truly wonderful qualities to have, so I am predisposed to liking people who attend conferences. But many conferences offer just the learning component, and if they are in the range of 500-600 people, they are impersonal by nature. These cool people often don't get to be themselves at typical business conferences.

BDG:  You prefer smaller conferences?

RA: Yes, I do–we think 200 patrons is perfect. We can be much more personal with them, and in so doing, we encourage our patrons to be themselves. If you take all of these good people with warm personalities who attend conferences, and you give them an opportunity to let all of their good qualities surface, you end up with a magnificent community of folks who create an almost-magical atmosphere. They truly enjoy meeting one another, and they learn almost as much from those interactions as they do from our experts. They become part of a support network of peers that they never knew existed, and we've seen that network grow stronger year over year, to the point where people who have met at the conference now consider themselves life-long friends.

BDG: Every year at the Summit, I look forward to geeking out with people passionate about presenting like I am and reconnecting with my presenter pals. Your conference is filled with folks in the presentation field at all levels of their careers from beginner to expert. I've learned something new each time I attended. What are you most excited about this year?

RA: Got an hour? When you only hold one conference a year, you get excited very easily.

BDG: Yes, you are notorious for that.

RA: And I wear it as a badge of honor. So for this year, we are thrilled—can I say that we are jazzed?—to be returning to the French Quarter of New Orleans, after having gone there in 2007, just two years after Hurricane Katrina. New Orleans is a magical city to visit, and we have a wonderful hotel, the Astor Crowne Plaza, right at the foot of Bourbon St.

BDG: How will you get people to go to class?

RA: (Laughs) They're all grown-ups. They make up their own minds about how they spend conference time.

BDG: They'll go—we've seen your speaker lineup.

RA: And that's the next thing I'm excited about—we have awesome keynoters and several new session leaders. I've been trying to get Guy Kawasaki for nearly a decade, and this year, all the planets aligned to enable him to join us on the Tuesday of conference week. I'm also really looking forward to meeting Keith Harmeyer of SmartStorming fame. His ideas about creative thinking are inspirational. And we welcome several very talented young artists to our team.

BDG: Young? That's unusual for you to make an observation about age.

RA: I know, but I'm north of 50 now, and we're beginning to see patrons who are half my age. That can't be ignored! They bring a fresh and dynamic perspective to the conference, and it is both invigorating and scary.

BDG: Scary? How is it scary?

RA: What if I can't keep up? What if they all see me as an old codger or something?

BDG: I refuse to answer that question.

RA: I suppose that will be the time to retire.

BDG: Not anytime soon, I hope!

RA: No, not anytime soon. This is too much fun.

BDG: What else do you want to say before you retire?

RA: Come to the Presentation Summit this fall to meet a bunch of people who are just as cool as you.

BDG: Thanks, Rick, for taking the time to chat with us. If you want to hear more from Rick and experience his energetic style, check out his interview below. Remember to enter NOLA75 in the client code field to save $75 when you register online for the Presentation Summit.

Rick and I will see you there!

Drinks are on Rick ... well, during the Welcome Reception.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Make Powerful InfoGraphics Fast

Last week, I presented at the ATD International Conference and Exposition to a crowd of over 300 trainers and talent development professionals. Talk about a lot of pressure! They were excited to learn how to make infographics fast, and they took the challenge to create their own infographic at the end of the class.

Here's an overview of my session for those who missed it:

Graphics are known to communicate information faster, be more memorable, improve learning, and increase your likelihood of success. The process of creating infographics comprises 50% concepting and 50% rendering.

Before you render, you need to understand your concept. Write down your thoughts regarding these three main factors:
  • Know your audience. You wouldn't use the same images or text in an infographic intended for middle school students as you would for financial planners. What graphic styles and images speak to your audience? What questions would they want answered about your concept?
  • Know your message. What should your audience learn from your graphic? What is the benefit to your audience? Take a cue from Albert Einstein, "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough."
  • Know how to explain or prove. Once you understand your message, then you need to prove it to the audience by providing metrics or explaining how your concept affects or benefits them.

After you've jotted down answers about your concept, then it is time to draw your concept.
  • Chunk your concepts. Review what you've written. Highlight metrics, benefits, and anything that answers What? or How? Draw boxes around key points.
  • Assemble your concepts. Review what you've highlighted. How can they be assembled to tell a story? How do they relate to each other? Can you assemble them into blocks that align like a pyramid or maybe steps in a process chart?
  • Visualize your total concept. Review the boxes drawn around your metrics and benefits. Consider how they connect. If they create a process graphic, maybe a road or a bridge graphic may speak to your concept of a journey or transporting data. Visualize the icons that relate to the pieces comprising your idea. Use our Graphic Cheat Sheet to help you find the right graphic type for your concept.
Here are a few sites to help you find and create infographics:

I showed the class several infographics for inspiration courtesy of Get My Graphic.


Practice makes better infographics, so I challenged the class to create an infographic based on what I'd taught them.

Here's a sampling of the graphics rendered by the class. Quite impressive considering they had five minutes to create these:

Then one student went to the head of the class and completely rendered his graphic after the workshop. Thanks to Dan Gorgone, Instructional Designer at MarketingProfs, for this awesome infographic. He made this instructor very proud.

Also, thanks to Dan Steer who provided a great overview of the ATD conference and my workshop on his blog

Lastly, thanks to everyone who attended Make Powerful Infographics Fast at ATD and made it a fun, engaging session. I hope to see you next year!

For information on my graphics training click here. To learn more about the graphic process I teach, you can find my book, Do-It-Yourself Billion Dollar Graphics, on Amazon.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

New Ways to Visualize Your Ideas

Get My Graphic just added new editable PowerPoint graphics to help you better communicate your ideas in unique and memorable ways.

Hub and Spoke Graphics
Below is a sampling of the Hub and Spoke graphics added this past week. You can view the entire collection of these graphics on Get My Graphic under What's New.



How to Use Them

These new Hub and Spoke graphics show relationship or structure. Use these graphics to speak about green technology being deployed throughout your company with each petal representing a different department. If your organization sells nature-based products, a flower image will support the theme of natural ingredients or environmentally friendly processes.

These fully editable PowerPoint graphics are vector based. You can change the colors, remove and add petals, and animate the image.

Communicate These Concepts 
  • Structure
  • Relationship
  • Interaction
  • Organization
  • Green technology
  • Natural products
  • Nature
  • Environment
  • Environmentally-friendly products or processes
  • Agriculture