A hybrid experience in learning, insight, and community building

The Summit FAQ

The Presentation Summit is a user conference, featuring live presentations, workshops, and a hands-on support center. 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.

In 2021, the Summit debuted a  tremendously popular hybrid format, in which virtual patrons connected directly with our in-person seminars. That is what you would be experiencing, were you to register to watch the on-demand recordings of the seminars and keynotes.

It might not be terribly helpful to simply answer that this conference is for everyone involved in business pursuits. It would be accurate, however, 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.

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Our hybrid conference thrived thanks to both technology and humanity. Those connecting virtually watched the keynotes and breakout seminars as livestreamed events. Each seminar had a virtual meeting host assigned to it and that person monitored the Chat from the front row of the ballroom with direct access to the presenter.

Because of this, the virtual experience was much more vital than watching talking heads in Zoom windows. You feel more like part of the crowd.

And just as there were after-hour events for those who joined in person, there  were gatherings dedicated to our virtual audience, which, while not quite the same as being part of it live, you will still get a feel for what it was like to connect live.

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.

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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. We choose our cities carefully and manage our cost structures diligently so that we can remain affordable to small businesses and independent professionals.

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The live virtual event was considered aggressively priced at $695. Access to the on-demand experience is $200 cheaper and yet the qualify of the instruction is identical. That makes this one of the best values you will ever find for world-class presentation and PowerPoint training.

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.

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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 seminar tracks and workshops, and there will always be a seminar taking place designed for beginning and/or intermediate users.

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.

Sunday (a term we use metaphorically, now that the conference has completed) is our Registration day and also our so-called Crash Course Day. On this day, we offer optional seminars for those who are new to the software, who want to brush up on their fundamentals, or who want to explore a topic more deeply before the main part of the conference begins. Our Sunday Crash Courses are the only part of the curriculum not covered in the base conference fee. They carry an extra charge of $169 per two-hour course.

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.