Greetings from #PreSum17!

By Sharyn Fitzpatrick. Editor-in-Chief

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My favorite conference of the year – The Presentation Summit – was a week of reconnecting with the amazing presentation industry community, learning more about presentations and PowerPoint, and having fun.  Each year, the incredible talent at PreSum humbles me with all they know.  The entire time, I am learning from presentations, fellow attendees, and even ad-hoc conversations over a meal or cocktails.

One of the biggest benefits of attending the conference is the content but also the collegial feel that this conference has where everybody shares knowledge, challenges, and solutions – just because it is what this group does!

Conference Central was bustling with excitement, and jovial conversations from the first minute I checked in on Saturday through till things ended on Wednesday. The beautiful Sheraton Clearwater Beach Resort, nestled on a beautiful beach, added to the wonderful ambiance already there by the spirit of this conference. The beautiful Sheraton Clearwater Beach Resort, nestled on a beautiful beach, added to the wonderful ambiance already there by the spirit of this conference. I even convinced a few US and international attendees to join me in the bar to watch my alma mater, Penn State beat Iowa in an American football game.

Here are some of the highlights for me:

Shortcuts are amazing.

In the pre-conference workshop with Echo Swinford and Julie Terberg, a fellow attendee, Jean-Gabriel Davy shared my favorite new shortcut – SHIFT + DOUBLE-CLICK Normal View Button takes you directly to the master slide.

The Presentation Guild

I am a proud member of the Presentation Guild and was honored to be a part of their second annual meeting.  At the annual meeting, MVP Glenna Shaw updated us on one of the major initiatives for the Guild – creating standards for the industry.  It is a huge undertaking and I can’t wait to hear what’s next.  I am also now the proud owner of a Presentation Guild member pin.  This group is destined for great things. Make sure you check it out!  Membership is $99 per year and it is a bargain.  Join today!

Tips from the Experts:

I couldn’t write fast enough as the content in all the sessions created a lot of “aha” moments for me. With over 100 pages of notes, there were several sessions and wisdom that stood out.


Setting up your template for PowerPointDon’t just choose page/widescreen – make sure it is 13.33 x 7.5.

All you need to do is check the size Smart Art will go to default theme fonts so make sure you set up your fonts on the theme font not just on the template.               Don’t ever use Algerian as your theme font! Duh!

When you customize your theme, create safe font pairs (heading plus body text) that work together. Choosing a “Safe-font” for your presentation will ensure that it looks the same on all the computers (in open format). An example of a safe font pair is Helvetica Bold for headings and Garamond for text.

Interested in learning about safe fonts and pair combinations – Johanna Rehnvall, Presentitude has a great blog about fonts that I recommend you read.

Your Slide Master needs to have both dark and light options including background color and text color.Use lockable guides to set up the right frame for your content. Use guides to set up text margins. Avoid using the gutters or the far margins for the text.

There was a great discussion about smart guides and adding them to your QAT but I don’t want to give it all away.  You can buy Echo and Julie’s book, Building PowerPoint Templates Step by Step with the ExpertsIt is worth searching for!

Or, sign up and take the pre-conference Template Creation Workshop.  It is an amazing two-hour crash course and worth the investment of both your time and dollars! They really know their stuff!


Printing with PowerPointBusiness

Communications come in all forms. And we often need to print but may not have access to programs like InDesign, Illustrator, or Publisher.  Nolan Haims makes a great point in his session about using PowerPoint as your print production.  I do it all the time.  PowerPoint is more than a tool to create presentations. It is a great design and production tool.

Think about what it will look like as a printed document. Make sure that add the right margins. Change your gutter from 1” to ½”.

Nolan reminded us about the concept of Slidedocs – a term coined by Microsoft PowerPoint MVP, Nancy Duarte.  “Slidedocs are this new medium. A slidedoc is a document created using presentation software, where visuals and words unite to illustrate one clear point per page. They’re meant to be printed or distributed instead of presented.”

Nancy created a free ebook and PowerPoint templates to help you understand how to use it in your organization.  It is a great resource – click here to learn more.

Planning for Remote Presentation

As the description says, “Not Being There Changes Everything” and this is so true.  Ken Molay, Webinar Success, was our remote presenter and Rick Altman was our on-site moderator.  They had a great partnership.  As the “webinar queen” (Rick’s title for me), this was a topic close to my heart.  The session worked well because they planned it, tested the technology, and executed it well.

To make it more interactive, one of the Summit’s sponsors, SendSteps offered the use of their audience interactive technology as a live audience participation tool for the session.  This enabled us to interact with Ken remotely using our smartphones or our computers or tablets. We answered polls, sent notes and questions, and even share creative ideas amongst the attendees.  Making that personal audience connection is one of the keys to having an engaging remote presentation.  It was a fun session.

Success at any age

One of the keynote speakers was 15-year old, Caleb Maddix.  He is driven to be successful and to make it happen by not settling for average and to be the best that you can be. He has a company – Kids 4 Success – and multiple books. He is earning six figures and he is just 15.  He is inspiring for his age. His content didn’t really have anything to do with presentations but he was engaging.  My son loves his YouTube channel so I enjoyed meeting him and his dad, Matt.

My Geek Fix – Checking out the Sponsors

The exhibit hall was full of interesting Presentation industry products.  Our table was between Logitech and Inscale Interactive.  Both offered products that are appealing to the geek in me.  Logitech introduced Spotlight, a sleek, wireless presentation remote that has a lot of powerful features, including interacting with multi-screen content, navigating content from up to 100 feet away.  

Virtual Reality

My inner geek really enjoyed Inscale Interactive’s immersive presentation technology.  Using a VR headset, you can use virtual reality to engage your audience.  The goal is to immerse the attendees in this world so you can create an engaging and memorable experience for the audience.

The Party

PresentationXpert was honored to host the party on Tuesday night.  It was a great way to introduce Business Watch Network to our presentation community.  They purchased PXpert earlier this year and they were excited to meet our community. Check out Business Watch Network.  They offer eight other newsletters on tech, HR, finance, and more. The newsletters are free to subscribers.Vince Pietrafesa, our very own stand-up comedian, kicked off the party with a quick comedy routine and we had a little fun.  BWN CEO, Mark Ulian and I sent out emoji beach balls to the audience as a way to connect. They were a hit all night and even found their way to the post-event pool party. A good time was had by all.


Next September can’t come soon enough.  Check it out and we hope to see you in San Diego, September 23-26.


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