Articles of interest. We hope.

  • What you (still have not yet) missed at the Presentation Summit
    What you (still have not yet) missed at the 2023 Presentation Summit In the afterglow of a profoundly well-received virtual event, recordings of all proceedings available until October 2024 Organizers of Season No. 21 of the Presentation Summit might tell you that it felt like it went on forever. At …  Read More »
  • What you (have not yet missed) at the 2023 Presentation Summit
    What you (have not yet) missed at the 2023 Presentation Summit Here are a few of the many highlights from the Presentation Summit in Monterey that you can still experience, Nov 5-8… The genius of Temple Grandin Mesmerizing her audience with simple but sometimes uncomfortable truths, Dr. Temple Grandin spoke …  Read More »
  • Five Reasons to Attend the Presentation Summit
    Five reasons why if you miss this fall’s Presentation Summit, you will suffer major FOMO No. 1: Temple Grandin It’s not every day, every year, or even every decade that one of our keynote speakers has had a major motion picture created about her life, with Claire Danes playing the …  Read More »
  • The Summer of Free Summit Passes
    What's better than attending a free webinar? How about winning a $595 pass to a conference while attending a free webinar? If you are hooked into the Training Mag Network, that could be your bragging right this summer. As part of the Presentation Summit's reboot in Season No. 21, conference …  Read More »
  • Secrets to Visual Thinking Revealed at the Presentation Summit
    The announcement of Temple Grandin's appearance at the conference has been met with tremendous positive response. Dr. Grandin's work is groundbreaking, as is her NYT best-selling work "Visual Thinking: The hidden gifts of people who think in pictures, patterns, and abstractions." And every person who registers for the conference before …  Read More »
  • Are You Smarter Than a Kindergartener?
    The story I told in 2018 was one of my favorites, because, first off, it was told to me by a good friend who teaches middle school, and second, because it was 100% true although you would never believe it.  Read More »
  • 2023 Keynotes Have a Common Theme: The Magic of the Brain
    Autistic animal expert, neuroscientist, and magician...just your garden-variety lineup of keynote speakers  Read More »
  • Carmen Simon Returns to the Presentation Summit
    "The thing about my good friend Carmen?" says Presentation Summit host and organizer Rick Altman. "She is the embodiment of her best-selling book: she is truly impossible to ignore." The conference is delighted to announce her triumphant return this year as the Monday morning keynote presenter, Oct 16, live from …  Read More »
  • 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 »
  • Lessons Learned from the 2022 Presentation Summit
    If you were to look up epiphany at, it should include the footnote "See Season No. 20 of the Presentation Summit." In our 20-year history, no event has been more eye-opening than the four days in October over which we staged our hybrid conference.  Read More »
  • Dierdre and her Free Soloing Son
    I recently watched Free Solo for the fourth time, so obsessed am I with the limits of human achievement and our capacity to face down pressure and risk. The parallels with public speaking are obvious, and that is why I am so looking forward to welcoming to the Presentation Summit …  Read More »
  • Dueling Ballrooms
    Few moments capture the charm of the Presentation Summit better than the 30 spontaneous seconds that took place one afternoon in 2017. When good friends Mike Parkinson and Nolan Haims found themselves next to one another leading concurrent seminars, a delightful game of one-upmanship took place. Watch...  Read More »
  • The Summit’s First Virtual Performance
    Long before Covid, the Presentation Summit dabbled in virtual, as one of our industry’s most prominent spokespeople, Garry Reynolds, lives in Japan. It was 2010 and we rigged up Skype and the best camera and microphone we could find. It was pretty cool at the time, but now it's laughable.  Read More »
  • Does My But Look Too Big Here?
    The "but trap" could send to our keisters any of us who write or speak in public. Don't fall into a but trap. Think "yes and" instead.  Read More »
  • Are We Ready to Travel Yet?
    You know that saying about the weather? If you don't like it, wait 15 minutes and it will change? That pretty much sums up how we all feel about business travel in the post-Covid age. Optimistic one week, pessimistic the next. The president says we'll all be able to get …  Read More »
  • Lessons Learned Hosting a Virtual Conference
    How do we congregate in the lounge after hours? How do we greet new conference acquaintances? How do we hug our friends? How do we tell our friends that we can't hug them?  Read More »
  • We are not post racial
    For the past 40+ years, I have been proud of the wrong thing. I attended a predominantly black high school in a predominantly black neighborhood. I once held a party at my house in which I was the only white kid. As sports editor for the Daily Californian at UC …  Read More »
  • 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 »
  • 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 »
  • 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 »
  • 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
    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
    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?
    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 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!
    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
    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
    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 »
  • The Circle of Life at the 2015 Presentation Summit
    When you have held annual conferences as long as I have (first one in 1989), you encounter just about everything along the way. We have witnessed all of the following: Marriage proposals Various activities that lead to proposals Similar activities that lead to divorces Power outages plunging all of our …  Read More »
  • 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
    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?
    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
    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”
    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…?
    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”?
    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?
    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
    “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
    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 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
    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??
    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?
    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 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
    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 »

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