Articles of interest. We hope.

  • Presentation Summit Moves to Summer, Heads to Seattle

    Presentation Summit Moves to Summer, Heads to Seattle

    Garr Reynolds to headline 2020 event, Aug 9-12 In a move sure to delight teachers across the country, the 18th rendition of the annual Presentation Summit moves up a full season to be held for the first time ever during the middle of summer, August 9-12 near Seattle WA. Headlining …  Read More »
  • Does My But Look Too Big Here?

    Does My But Look Too Big Here?

    Don't fall into a but trap. Think "yes and" instead.  Read More »
  • What the f— do we do with all this s—??

    What the f— do we do with all this s—??

    Public profanity is a new phenomenon and I can't quite decide if it is a nadir or a zenith. Perhaps it is both, and as such, it has fascinating implications for anyone involved in public presentation.  Read More »
  • Leadership Workshop Offers Hope and Optimism

    Leadership Workshop Offers Hope and Optimism

    Once a year, I participate in Leadership Santa Clara, a wonderful initiative that many cities (not just Santa Clara) conduct in order to seek out and cultivate local leaders in city government and community endeavors. This six-month program, led by SAE Communications, explores governance, volunteerism, environment, media, health, culture, and …  Read More »
  • Found in Translation

    Found in Translation

    I have colleagues who specialize in helping people communicate in languages other than their own. I know experts in this field, and I can say without equivocation that I am not one of them. I am pretty good at using words like equivocation in my native tongue, but when it …  Read More »
  • Is My Conference Racist?

    Is My Conference Racist?

    It came out of nowhere. A one-time patron and presenter — I’ll call him Jon because, well, because his name is Jon — called me out by name on social media. “Hey, Rick Altman, not one person of color presenting at this year’s Presentation Summit? C’mon, man.” He also included …  Read More »
  • What Can We Learn from James Comey?

    What Can We Learn from James Comey?

    You don’t have to be a political junkie to have been interested in former FBI Director James Comey’s appearance before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday. And if you are a member of the presentation community, you might have found it utterly fascinating. And illuminating. And educational. This was the …  Read More »
  • Are Protesters like Presenters?

    Are Protesters like Presenters?

    If so, they are failing I grew up near Stanford University in the 1960s and I remember my mother taking me on campus for protests and marches against our country’s involvement in the Vietnam War. She likes to tell the story of one late-October gathering in which the chant of …  Read More »
  • When Your Mariah Moment Happens

    When Your Mariah Moment Happens

    Did you hear the one about how powerful Mariah Carey’s voice is? You can hear her sing even when her mouth is not open. As you can imagine, there is no shortage of jokes about the singer’s epic fail on New Year’s Eve. Several have no doubt graced your Facebook …  Read More »
  • What You Can Learn from the Jewish Holidays

    What You Can Learn from the Jewish Holidays

    I start with a few provisos. First, I recognize that a high percentage of my readership subscribes to a faith other than Judaism or subscribes to no faith at all. Second, the Jewish High Holidays — marked by Rosh Hashanah (the new year) and then 10 days later Yom Kippur …  Read More »
  • Is it Unfair to Call Hillary Clinton Shrill?

    Is it Unfair to Call Hillary Clinton Shrill?

    Of all of the lasting images and sound bites from the Democratic National Convention and from Secretary Clinton’s historic acceptance speech, it does seem a bit out of proportion to read and hear so much about her vocal pattern. But is it sexist? Is it unfair? No it is not. …  Read More »
  • The Warriors, Kevin Durant, and You

    The Warriors, Kevin Durant, and You

    The Curse of Expectation Having been a long-suffering follower of the Golden State Warriors when they were terrible for over 20 years, it is with unreserved glee that I revel in last year’s championship, this year’s record-breaking season, and the recent acquisition of superstar Kevin Durant. But you don’t have …  Read More »
  • Don’t Say That!

    Don’t Say That!

    Six Things Presenters Should Never Say The digital world is littered with articles with titles similar to this one. A Google search turns up 750,000 of them. And most of them offer good advice, albeit a bit redundant. Just about all of them warn against calling attention to your having …  Read More »
  • Happy Accidents with Triggers

    Happy Accidents with Triggers

    You never know what you might discover when you thought you were looking for something else. One of our more loyal Presentation Summit attendees, Mary Hampton, had a recent dilemma and she came to us in search of a solution. On a map of the United States, she prepared information …  Read More »
  • Guilty Pleasures

    Guilty Pleasures

    We turn the tables on one of the oldest scams in history… Reprinted from 2009 on Throw-Back Thursday… ALL OF YOU HAVE RECEIVED ONE, WE’RE SURE. The email with the subject of “Very Urgent Investment Transaction,” the entire letter in upper case, and the gist being the wealthy person who …  Read More »
  • Busted in Boise

    Busted in Boise

    How could a simple question during a routine workshop become such a game-changer? We were well into our day, about six hours into an all-day presentation skills workshop. My client was Micron, the well-known microchip manufacturer and largest employer in the state of Idaho, and we were in a beautiful …  Read More »
  • The Parallels between Tennis and Public Speaking

    The Parallels between Tennis and Public Speaking

    When I took time off last summer to write a book about tennis, I had intended for it to be merely a diversion. Having played the sport for decades, I have long felt that there is little support for adult doubles players. The major networks feed us nothing but singles …  Read More »
  • What Does “Design” Mean, Anyway?

    What Does “Design” Mean, Anyway?

    Every year during and after the Presentation Summit, a fascinating exchange of ideas takes shape. This happens without fail — in the hallways and ballrooms during the days of the conference, in the lounge after hours, and in the post-conference evaluations that we read. This year’s discussion took its most …  Read More »
  • Surviving Handout Hell

    Surviving Handout Hell

    The height of my client-visiting season is May through August when I visit or connect remotely with dozens of client sites and meet with many hundreds of people. Almost to a person, the following two statements hold true: The biggest issue that presentation designers and content creators face is placing …  Read More »
  • The Folly of “Ditching PowerPoint”

    The Folly of “Ditching PowerPoint”

    Every few weeks, someone speaks out on a public forum somewhere about how bad PowerPoint is. About how it should be eliminated from corporate culture. About how it is the root of all evil. Over on the Presentation Gurus LinkedIn group, one of the regular contributors, Eric Bergman, shared a …  Read More »
  • What’s On Your QAT…?

    What’s On Your QAT…?

    Longtime PowerPoint users, including this writer, remember fondly the days of version 2003. As old-fashioned as that version was — with its awkward slide layouts, unrefined visual aids, and often-bizarre object naming schemes — it had one quality that all subsequent versions lack: you could completely customize the interface. You …  Read More »
  • What’s the Problem with “Creating a PowerPoint”?

    What’s the Problem with “Creating a PowerPoint”?

    Most presentation consultants in business today have become a bit oblivious  to the common practice of referring to a presentation by the tool used to create its visuals. No other product in the Office suite shares this distinction — I know nobody who composes a Word, crunches an Excel, or …  Read More »
  • When Did Competition Become a Dirty Word?

    When Did Competition Become a Dirty Word?

    It was 9:15a and the outdoor thermometer registered it 37 degrees, 98 degrees in Fahrenheit. A group of over a dozen of us, including several teens and one 70-year-old woman, had already committed to hiking the fabled Snake Path to the summit of Israel’s Masada, and we were not going …  Read More »
  • On Software and Trust

    On Software and Trust

    “I don’t see how a software tool can create trust.” “I am fascinated by your analysis of trust and how animation contributes to it.” My last post, The Phenomenon of Attention, generated no small bit of commentary, including the two above. This doesn’t surprise me: the Animation engine within PowerPoint …  Read More »
  • The Phenomenon of Attention

    The Phenomenon of Attention

    We no longer have four-year-olds in the house, so the most profound and egregious examples of limited attention span no longer occur on an hourly basis here. That said, I have spent the past three months examining and being fascinated by the impact that attention span has on our society …  Read More »
  • The Most Valuable PowerPoint Feature that You’re Not Using

    The Most Valuable PowerPoint Feature that You’re Not Using

    The best-kept secret of modern versions of PowerPoint? That’s a no-brainer, as I experience it almost every time I interact with users. When I am brought into an organization to consult on presentation skills, most in the room don’t know about it. When I give webinars, I can practically hear …  Read More »
  • An Unforgettable Week

    An Unforgettable Week

    The drama that unfolded Around CorelWORLD ’01 Reprinted from Oct 2001 The events that overtook our country on Tuesday, September 11, had a profound effect on the conference that I host. It became far less important in the larger matters of life, and at the same time, it became far …  Read More »
  • I mean…um…what do I mean??

    I mean…um…what do I mean??

    One of the most common of all traits among those who speak in public is the verbal tick. Most of my clients have them, our former rabbi had them, President Obama has them, you probably have them. And because I have them as well, I have made somewhat of a …  Read More »
  • Can PowerPoint Make You Stupid?

    Can PowerPoint Make You Stupid?

    This is an excerpt from the third edition of Rick Altman’s provocatively-titled book on presentation best practices. Available now in paperback, PDF, ePub, and Kindle. You can learn more about it at the BetterPresenting website. ONE OF THE MOST INFLAMMATORY ideas circulating among PowerPoint skeptics has received quite a bit …  Read More »
  • It’s Not About Being Perfect

    It’s Not About Being Perfect

    It takes a rock star to show us presenters what is truly important in communication Did you watch the Grammy Awards last week? Winners for Best Rock Performance, the Foo Fighters provided the most memorable moment of any award show in years when lead singer Dave Grohl accepted the award …  Read More »
  • The Power of the Apology

    The Power of the Apology

    As one year turns into another, I seek topics with larger reach, in the hopes that they could function as resolutions. This one certainly qualifies: the fine art of showing contrition and remorse. I fancy myself somewhat of an authority on the subject, given that my wife has been telling …  Read More »