Thursday, November 4, 2010

Presentation Summit —WOW—Part I

From October 17-20, we attended the Presentation Summit at beautiful Mission Beach in San Deigo, though we didn't get to see too much of area because Rick Altman and his team running the conference kept us very busy with amazing speakers and networking events and an array of learning opportunities.

I was blown away by the lineup of experts speaking at the conference and how these experts touted again and again the importance of visual communication. Nigel Holmes kicked off the keynotes with a presentation on the art of visual communication. His unique take on how to visually communicate has changed the way graphic designers create information graphics (e.g., replace bars in a graph with toothpaste when comparing about the amount of toothpaste by various demographics—that's a Nigel Holmes' graphic!). Check out his website to get inspiration and learn more about his way of visual thinking, which can hopefully change the way you view graphics. One of my takeaways from his session is to eliminate the unnecessary so the necessary can speak. Brilliant!

The conference continued to provide expert after expert teaching us PowerPoint tips, presentation advice, and making better PowerPoint presentations through better graphics. I highly recommend checking out Julie Terberg. She is a Microsoft MVP and gave an informative workshop on designing presentations for large corporations. Some of her advice included
  • Design your presentation's background color to your speaking environment. For example, a big, bright room will compete with a white background on your slides and make it harder to see.
  • Set defaults in your PowerPoint file for lines and shapes. For example, draw a line and determine the width, color, and style. Right click on the line and set as "default." Whenever you draw a line in that PowerPoint file, it will now use your preset line style to save you time in formatting and keep your lines consistent.
  • Include your longer bullets or speaking points in the notes and not on the slide.
  • "Control drag" to place 8 horizontal and 8 vertical guides to ensure your information is aligned from slide to slide.
Nancy Duarte, author of Slide:ology and Resonate, gave a keynote on connecting with your audience to inspire support for your vision. She analyzed popular speeches and stories and found patterns in the most remembered expositions that can be translated to effective presentations. In keeping with the story theme, she viewed a presenter as a mentor and the audience as the hero. Just like in the great novels, you expect the hero to change and grow throughout the plot. That is the same when giving a presentation or exposing your audience to your ideas/concepts. Before you design your presentation, you need to understand who the audience is in the beginning and who you want them to be by the end of your presentation. How do you want to change the way they think, view your product/service, understand the world around them through the information you are presenting to them. It is a powerful concept and she goes into further detail in her latest book, Resonate. I'm adding that book to my Christmas list!

I had hope to write everything about the conference in one blog. However, I'm going to split this blog topic into a few more entries ... I've gotten a little excited about this topic and there was just so much to learn and see! I want to write more about people we met and the helpful products we encountered (like Neuxpower, file optimization software that allows you to compress files without losing quality—revolutionary for anyone who deals with huge files!). I will also be posting interviews in the coming year with several of the experts we had met at the conference.

Check back often. Part II to come shortly ...

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