IN-PERSON: Oct 20-23
VIRTUAL: Nov 3-6

Q&A with the Presenting Team

Matt Abrahams

Q. If you could see a presentation from anyone, living or deceased, whom would it be and why?
A. Robin Willaims. I am curious to witness his genius in person.

Q. You are crafting a slide to capture something very important to you. You can only use one image to depict it. What is that image?
A. Picture of the ripples from a pebble into still water.

Q. What would you attempt if you knew you couldn’t fail?
A. Acrobatics many feet in the air.

Q. What makes you laugh every time you think about it?
A. The Robin Williams bit about the origin of golf.

Jody Wissing

Q. If you could see a presentation from anyone, living or deceased, whom would it be and why?
A. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the "I Have a Dream" speech. He was a brilliant speaker, and I teach a training session using this as food for thought: "What if MLK had used PowerPoint for 'I Have a Dream'? Given that the "I have a dream" part was not actually in his script, that likely would have played out very differently.

Q. What is your single most important piece of advice for people in the presentation community?
A. More equals less in the world of presentations. More slides doesn't mean a longer presentation; it means a more engaging presentation. At the end of all presentation training, I ask how many slides do you think I showed. Most guess between 20-50, when in fact I had shown more than 200.

Q. What would you attempt if you knew you couldn’t fail?
A. Nothing -- failure means you're learning. I want to always be learning and growing, plus I love a challenge. Without an option of failure, could you have a challenge?

Q. What makes you laugh every time you think about it?
A. When my friend was giving a presentation and was trying to say "organisms" and instead said "orgasms." Everyone laughed, and she just laughed along and owned it. It was a brilliant recovery, and I guarantee no one has ever forgotten that presentation.

Q. What's the best story you're ever used in a presentation?
A. Teaching the value of storytelling to salespeople for a software company. I told a story of how their software saved my life. Ask me about it sometime...

John Chen

Q. If you could see a presentation from anyone, living or deceased, whom would it be and why?
A. Bill Gates, Simon Sinek, Elizabeth Gilbert, rhada agawal

Q. Single most important piece of advice for people in the presentation community?
A. Even after 35 years on PowerPoint, I’m continuing to learn every day.

Q. What would you attempt if you knew you couldn’t fail?
A. I would create the next level virtual presentation deck.

Q. What makes you laugh every time you think about it?
A. PowerPoint karaoke

Q. Best tip for 2023?
A. Cameo.

Julie Terberg

Q. If you could see a presentation from anyone, living or deceased, whom would it be and why?
A. Simone Giertz. She's a brilliant inventor of ridiculous things. Clever, funny, and genuine. I adore her attitude and her inventions. Here she is.

Q. What would you attempt if you knew you couldn’t fail?
A. Altruistic: I'd try to make the world a better place. End wars, famine, poverty. Reduce global warming. Kill cancer and diseases. You know, the easy stuff.
Selfish: I'd quit working and leisurely travel the world with my spouse. Soak in the sights. Meet new people. Experience new things. Stay however long we like. No pressure to rush to the next destination. Fly our kids to meet us in places they're interested in visiting.

Q. What makes you laugh every time you think about it?
A. I love a well-told joke or a funny video the first time I hear it or watch it. Burst-out-laugh-crying is the best when you're with close friends.

Q. What's the top destination on your travel bucket list?
A. New Zealand.

Richard Goring

Q. If you could see a presentation from anyone, living or deceased, whom would it be and why?
A. Hans Rosling. Such a wonderful person, but also a great communicator and presenter, sharing fascinating information in an interesting way. I would love to see him present in- person.

Q. What is your single most important piece of advice for people in the presentation community?
A. For everything you do, think first. Don't go straight into PowerPoint mode. Stop and think what you are trying to achieve, who your audience is, what they need to hear, how long you have, what the environment is, what are your key messages. Think how it helps you to achieve your objective and how it relates to your audience.

Q. What would you attempt if you knew you couldn’t fail?
A. Ski jumping.

Q. What makes you laugh every time you think about it?
A. "I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by." -- Douglas Adams

Stephy Hogan

Q. If you could see a presentation from anyone, living or deceased, whom would it be and why?
A. How can you make me choose like that? This is hard. I would have to say Mark Rober. He is an engineer and amazing storyteller. He actively tries to get people to love and appreciate the process of inventing and engineering. He is brilliant at capturing and keeping your attention.

Q. What would you attempt if you knew you couldn’t fail?
A. I would quit my day job immediately, finish building my accessible design course and launch it.

Q. What makes you laugh every time you think about it?
A. That time when my mom was visiting, wanted to make coffee, and accidentally used flax seed instead of coffee.

Ric Bretschneider

Q. If you could see a presentation from anyone, living or deceased, whom would it be and why?
A. Benjamin Franklin. Statesman, scientists, writer, inventor, publisher. He made so many advances in all those areas. I would hope he would set the record straight on congress and the constitution, and evaluate our current situation. I'd be enthralled by his presentation, but even more excited to participate in his Q&A segment. All of this and he knew how to party.

Q. What is your single most important piece of advice for people in the presentation community?
A. Listen as you practice and put yourself in the position of the audience. What is their level of education and experience? Are you giving them enough information in a digestible manner? Are they likely to be swayed by your arguments? Why or why not? Do you make leaps of logic that are going to fail in convincing them? Are they bored?

Q. What would you attempt if you knew you couldn’t fail?
A. Flying. Not in a plane, but flying by jumping off a high place and not hitting the ground until I'm ready to safely land. It always feels so great in dreams, but when I dream it I realize I'm just dreaming.

Q. What makes you laugh every time you think about it?
A. The fictionally autobiographical short story "A Twenties Memory" by Woody Allen. He places himself in a scene with Ernest Hemmingway in 1920's Chicago and all the great artists of the period are there: Alice Toklas, Picasso, Gertrude Stein, Scott Fitzgerald, and others. It ends with Allen fondly remembering how Hemmingway punched him in the nose.

Q. What was the defining moment of your life?
A. One day in high school, a friend dragged me into the computer science lab to see something. The lab was a couple of dozen text-only terminals that were all hooked up to a huge box in a closet that you were not allowed to see. My friend showed me a game of Star Trek that he had written. The goals was to fly the Enterprise around and rid the galaxy of Klingons before you ran out of energy or were destroyed. We sat there for hours and the next day I added computer science classes to my schedule.

Mike Parkinson (he’s the one on the left)

Q. If you could see a presentation from anyone, living or deceased, whom would it be and why?
A. Leonardo da Vinci. He married art and science in a way that blows my mind.

Q. What is your single most important piece of advice for people in the presentation community?
A. Set a goal and know what you want to say before you say it.

Q. What would you attempt if you knew you couldn’t fail?
A. Pie in the sky: End cancer.
Realistically: Help others achieve their goals with the skills I have.

Q. What makes you laugh every time you think about it?
A. Videos where people get scared.

Q. What's the most valuable thing you learned from a book or movie?
A. “I'd rather be happy than right any day" -- Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Nolan Haims (he’s the one in the middle)

Q. If you could see a presentation from anyone, living or deceased, whom would it be and why?
A. Leonardo Da Vinci. I don't know if he would be a good "explainer" to the average person, but I would love to listen to his passion for all types of topics and see him walk an audience through his drawings and inventions.

Q. What is your single most important piece of advice for people in the presentation community?
A. Less.

Q. What would you attempt if you knew you couldn’t fail?
A. An IronMan Triathlon

Q. What makes you laugh every time you think about it?
A. The I Love Lucy candy factory episode.

Q. What one question do you wish you could ask of and have answered by your dog?
A. What was the best day of your life?

Rick Altman

Q. If you could see a presentation from anyone, living or deceased, whom would it be and why?
A. The president of a country of an inhabited planet of a nearby star. Talk about breaking through cultural bias!

Q. What is your single most important piece of advice for people in the presentation community?
A. You are the presentation, not your slides. Nobody has ever attended a seminar looking forward to seeing your slides.

Q. What would you attempt if you knew you couldn’t fail?
A. I would jump off the 15th deck on our next cruise ship, do a double flip from a pike, right into the turquoise water of the Caribbean.

Q. What makes you laugh every time you think about it?
A. I once swung and missed while hitting a simple forehand and my tennis racquet hit me in the head. How did I do that??