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.

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