It took a global pandemic to get me to hold an online conference. Now that we’re there, we’re going to host the best one anyone has ever seen.”
Rick Altman, conference host
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A Unique Experience
No other conference on the planet shines a spotlight this bright and this strong on the presentation experience.
Successful presentations are about more than software. They are about crafting sharp messages, creating intelligent design, employing smart PowerPoint techniques, and developing comfort before an audience. The Summit offers all of this at levels you won’t find anywhere else.
We deliver insight, inspiration, and community to create a conference experience that you will remember forever. Our breadth of coverage, depth of expertise, willingness to help, and passion for creating engagement all add up to a business conference that is completely unlike any other you will attend.
Spend four mornings with us and never look at a presentation project the same way again. Give us four half days and you will immediately distinguish yourself from 99% of the people creating or delivering presentations today.
Three keynote addresses. Twenty-two seminars and workshops. Two field trips. The famous trivia contest. All streamed live. All available until Feb 2021. Yes, this summer’s Presentation Summit will last six entire months.
How we create our learning environment
At the Summit, you will choose between two concurrent seminars or workshops taking place at any given time. No worries if you miss one you want to see; you have all of 2020 to watch it.
Looks at questions of design and aesthetics, story and message, and audience connection. This track explores the qualities that make up excellent presentation design and delivery, and is where we showcase the work of prominent presentation designers and communication specialists.
Dedicated to the nuts-and-bolts techniques and strategies that comprise effective use of PowerPoint and related software. It caters to those in the trenches—the ones who pump out slides by the truckload and need to learn how to be as efficient and as productive as possible. It is a haven for all of the nitty-gritty tips and tricks on myriad topics.
Schedule of Seminars and Events
We will not make you sit at your desk all day to take in our content. We are distributing our programming out across four half days: Mornings for those in the western U.S., afternoons in the east, evening for Europe.
All seminars will be recorded and available for later viewing.
Seminar topics are subject to change. Change in life is good…
The Summit FAQ
The Presentation Summit enjoys a reputation as one of the warmest in-person conferences ever and it took a global pandemic to force this year’s retooling as a virtual conference. But the bright side of this is obvious: the Summit will be beamed to any device that is connected to the Internet. Our keynotes, roundtables, and live seminars will all include the authoritative, practical, and inspiring content that has distinguished the conference since its inception.
Indeed, the Presentation Summit has enjoyed a 17-year heritage as one of the most informative, welcoming, and inclusive conferences you will ever find, whether in person or online. It features live presentations, technical support, third-party technology and services, and lots of networking.
People attend in order to learn how to become better content creators, better presentation designers, better storytellers, better presenters, and better users of PowerPoint and other software. They leave with a much broader and deeper understanding of the principles and best practices for presentation design, creation, and delivery.
We do wish that we could all be together in one place, but we believe we are providing the next best thing. This won’t just be a collection of Zoom webinars strung together; as the beacons of best practices in the presentation industry, we intend to show you just how engaging, how interactive, and how warm a virtual event can be, when done right. We have been creating community among presentation professionals since 2003 and we’re not going to let some crummy virus keep us from continuing this mission.
It might not be terribly helpful to simply answer that this conference is for everyone involved in business pursuits, although it would be accurate, because if you are in business today, you need to present yourself and your organization in the best possible light. Let’s categorize:
FORTUNE 500 COMPANIES have obvious stakes in the game, whereby the first impression of a sales call in a conference room or a large-scale announcement could make all the difference in cultivating business relationships and winning hearts and minds. Large organizations have been slowly awakening to the realization that investing in presentation skills is essential, and with that comes the conclusion that neither “PowerPoint training” nor “public speaking classes” is sufficient on its own. They need a more comprehensive learning experience for their communication teams.
On the other side of the spectrum, ENTREPRENEURS and SMALL BUSINESSES are never not trying to distinguish themselves. Whether you are offering consulting services to law firms, graphic design services to the retail industry, or restaurant supplies to a downtown district, potential customers all want to know the same thing: how are you different than the next? If you know how to tell a compelling story and engage an audience, large or small, you immediately distinguish yourself from nearly all of the other people doing what you do. Good presentation skills make up a transferable commodity: audiences are more likely to trust you with your core message when they see the confidence with which you deliver it.
And in the middle are MEDIUM-TIER BUSINESSES, MARKETING TEAMS, and COMMUNICATION DEPARTMENTS across the country and around the world. People in these groups tend to go on auto-pilot, as it is all too easy to trot out the company template, freshen up the language, and head out the door with it. They rely on their slides to an unhealthy degree because they lack the perspective to question the conventional wisdom that likely has prevailed since before they took their current jobs. We don’t allow anyone to go on auto-pilot at the Presentation Summit — we question everything! And from this healthy scrutiny, you are certain to come away with a total reboot of how you approach the presentation process.
From all three of these broad categories, we attract active content creators, heavy users of PowerPoint, and those who are tasked with delivering presentations to audiences, both in person and virtually. We also garner the attention of the department heads who lead the afore-mentioned people. Advertising departments, market research, sales, educational, judicial, financial, medical, government, military…in short, anyone who wants to become more proficient, more productive, and more effective with presentation content is a likely candidate to apply for registration.
Every detail about this conference is designed for and dedicated to the presentation professional and the end users of presentation software. Your pursuit to become more capable, more creative, and more productive make up our Job One.
It’s true, PowerPoint is not difficult to pick up and begin creating slides. Our host’s daughters began creating slides when they were each 8, and we all know people who installed it and immediately began creating slides in advance of an upcoming presentation they had to give. It is probably the easiest program in the Office suite to learn.
This is the bad news, not the good news.
This is why the risk is high with PowerPoint. This is why Death by PowerPoint is in everyone’s lexicon. With other creative apps, such as Adobe Photoshop and Microsoft Access, potential users know that it is too difficult to develop proficiency without help. But inexperienced PowerPoint users can already be on their fifth not-so-attractive slide within 15 minutes of breaking the seal. And PowerPoint presentations are rarely created for private use — they are made to be shared with others. That means that an entire company’s reputation goes along for the ride when an inexperienced user begins creating and delivering presentations.
New PowerPoint users need something like the Presentation Summit precisely because the program is so accessible. They need to begin developing taste, sensibility, and restraint before they become a hazard to their own careers!
Perhaps more important, proficiency with the software does not imply expertise with crafting and delivering an engaging and successful presentation. In fact, all too often, the software actually gets in the way. The Summit goes far beyond mere PowerPoint training, covering the whole of the presentation process in a uniquely organic way.
Intermediate users stand to gain even more; they are ready to begin mastery of the techniques that could separate them from the pack. They know how to create slides; now they need to understand how to craft a message that will have maximum impact. They know how to animate bullets; now it is time to learn how to create animation schemes that complement the message. They understand how to import photos to a slide; they will learn how to integrate evocative visuals with simple text messages to ensure that audiences feel the weight of their messages. They will learn these and dozens of other similar skills at the Summit.
Advanced users up the ante even further and this conference delivers with fully-conceived workshops on advanced automation, interactive UI development, eLearning, deployment across thousands of seats at an organization, and a host of secrets revealed for working at maximum speed and efficiency.
As a virtual conference, the cost to attend will be cut by a factor of about six—expert instruction on presentation and PowerPoint will never be more accessible than it is this year.
When we debuted this conference in 2003, presentation skills were barely on anyone’s radar. Companies were content to invest in traditional advertising and branding initiatives, secure in a belief that PowerPoint was an easy skill to pick up.
Everything has changed.
From Fortune 100 firms to the sole proprietor, everyone now realizes the importance of creating professional-grade presentation content and delivering it with maximum impact. With the result of bad PowerPoint everywhere you look, the danger of being ill-equipped in this medium is crystal clear.
If you are the head of a communications department who wants to improve presentation skills, your choice is to hire new people with those skills or to train the people you have. Even in an improving economy, Door No. 2 is the most viable option, and the last thing you need is just to send your team to another PowerPoint training class or to a vaguely-defined learning event that promises to turn them into presentation gods or rock stars. They need a more complete exposure to the principles, philosophies, and finer points of presentation design and creation. They also need to widen their network of peers and support avenues. No event on the planet delivers these resources as well as the Summit.
If you are the independent contractor, small business owner, or employee of a budget-strapped firm, you make yourself instantly more valuable to your clients or your bosses when you give your presentation skills this kind of shot in the arm.
If you have long wondered about the Summit but didn’t have the funds to attend, this is your year. And if you need help convincing your boss of the value of the Presentation Summit, here you go…
The end users who join us at the Presentation Summit will not have to sit through keynote addresses about sales forecasts, industry trends, or document object models. Instead, you will be watching the true experts in the presentation community. You will be watching the most talented presentation experts showcase their talents and speak on dozens of salient topics:
- How to choose the most effective way to communicate your message.
- How to deliver that message with maximum impact.
- How to connect with your audience on an emotional level, not just an intellectual one.
- How to tell an engaging story, not just recite facts and figures.
- How to create content for e-learning and instructional design projects.
- How to increase your understanding of the software many times over.
- How professional templates are created.
- How transitions are tuned.
- How animations are perfected.
- How slide layouts are made to look inviting and not obnoxious.
- How to scrutinize your own work and be your own best critic.
- How to ensure that your presentation looks as good on a notebook PC 3,000 miles away as it does on your own computer.
- How to work seamlessly on tablets, mobile devices, and in the cloud.
- How advanced users can write powerful scripts to automate workflow.
- And how to become dramatically more efficient and productive.
Our conferences spawn lasting relationships. We bring people together who share a common bond and spirit and we turn them into colleagues, business partners, best friends, soulmates…even bride and groom (it’s happened three times). Okay, so maybe that won’t happen this year, but wait until you see the inordinate effort we make to help you meet like-minded professionals.
As we said above, the Presentation Summit is independently owned and operated. The host, Rick Altman, is a computer journalist of over 30 years with a noted lack of shyness for offering opinion and commentary. So while many trade show events have as their primary purpose the selling of goods, services, and technology, our primary purpose is the teaching of them.
Trade shows offer carefully-staged demos in which the software always looks terrific; our presenters are there to show you what to do when the software doesn’t look so terrific. If a feature is awesome, we take delight in showing you. And if a feature doesn’t work properly, we take seriously our responsibility to tell you so, and more importantly, to show you the way around it.
Our sole interest is in expanding your understanding. We expect that by attending this conference, it means that you are already a user of PowerPoint, Keynote, Prezi, or another software tool, or that you have already chosen to immerse yourself in the presentation medium. The last thing you need is a sales pitch.
Jamie Garroch on the open and direct dialogue that the conference promotes.
Definitely not. We design the Summit for those who use the software regularly, or expect to do so, but we make no assumptions about your level of expertise. We offer two concurrent seminars and workshops, and there will always be a seminar taking place designed for beginning and/or intermediate users, or else there will be instructors in the Help Center dedicated to working with new users on fundamentals and basics.
So we are by no means a conference just for experts, although you’ll surely meet your share of them there and your career is likely to be enhanced by the relationships you’ll be able to cultivate with them. We think of ourselves as a conference for earnest users, for those who have made a significant commitment to the presentation industry.
Microsoft is represented by its MVP (Most Valued Professionals) team — a robust group of experts whose job it is to help the community better understand the software. They lead many of our seminars, they staff our Help Center, and in most cases, they are life-long friends of the user community.
The Presentation Summit is not a trade show, but it features one. The Summit qualifies up to a dozen third-party vendors to exhibit their goods and services. Normally, the Summit Expo is held on Day Two of the conference; as a virtual event, our partners will be available all four days for you to get product demos and have live keyboard, voice, or video chats. There will even be virtual swag bags for you to snag.
This is the question we are asked the most. We think that the Presentation Summit offers the best of all worlds, as we provide both hands-on and hands-off components. The formal seminars are presentation style, with full and interactive Q&A chat available.
The hands-on component features our renowned Help Center, at your beck and call during conference hours. Our virtual Help Center experts are available for drop-in visit or appointments, with the full complement of modern virtual tools at the ready: chat, video, screen sharing, and file upload. Their job is to say “Yes Ma’am” or “Yes Sir” when you approach them with any question or problem. The Help Center is about as hands-on as virtual technical support can get.
Got an hour? The list reads like a who’s who of presentation professionals and PowerPoint experts. We combine the following groups of people to form our team:
- The true luminary and transcendent figures in the presentation industry, such as Garr Reynolds and designers from Duarte.
- Members of Microsoft’s Most Valued Professional (MVP) team of volunteers who assist users from around the world.
- Technical specialists who have developed international acclaim for their books, tutorials, training expertise, and perspective on presentation.
- Leaders of firms who create presentations for some of the largest organizations in the world.
See our comments above about our incredible Help Center. There, you can ask any question under the sun.
When we planned the 2020 program, all the planets aligned: we wanted to have Garr Reynolds appear in person for years (he is a professor in Japan, so can’t travel in the fall), and Seattle has been on our short list for nearly a decade. Garr is originally from the Pacific Northwest and the Tokyo games gave him incentive to leave Japan in August.
So all the planets aligned for a few months. We think this falls under the category of “humans make plans and God laughs.”
With many folks having already blocked out those dates, including many members of our presenting team, it made sense to keep the dates the same. Instead of three full days, we will offer programming over four half days.
Sights and Sounds from the Summit
We won’t be able to capture all of this magic this year, but we’ll never stop trying
Video footage from our seminars
Snippets from our patrons
From the host
Our 2020 Partners
Join us in 2020 and get access to the most vested and informed consumers the presentation industry knows.
Affordable, Accessible, Invaluable
The Presentation Summit will offer the friendliest registration price in its history, as the hard costs of a virtual conference are orders of magnitude below those of an in-person event. Nonetheless, you will be receiving the same instruction from the same experts.
If you have always wanted to attend but couldn’t find the time or the room inside your training budget, this is the year to check us out.
Aug 10-13Four half days
All seminars and workshops
Access to the Help Center
Group pricing starting at five
Seminars available on-demand until Feb 2021
CANCELLATIONS: 80% refund given if cancellation is received in writing more than 21 days before event; 40% refund if between 14 and 21 days before event; no refund within 14 days of event. Substitutions happily accommodated right up to day before the event.