Presentations Roundtable
Presentations Roundtable

Three More Keynotes

How much did the professional presentations business change in the last year?  

We recently sat down with three giants in the field of creating effective and compelling presentations; Slideology author Nancy Duarte, Distinction Services's Jim Endicott, and Julie Terberg of Terberg design - three keynote speakers at the PowerPoint Live 2008 conference. 
It seemed like a great time to catch up on how the presentations business has been doing.  Is "death by PowerPoint" in remission?  Is there hope at last, and what role are colleges and recent graduates playing here? How do you calculate cost of a bad presentation? What's your pre-presentation game plan?  What's different about web-based presentations?

We'll cover all that, and more in this episode. 

Listen Now (click the play button below) or Subscribe!

Download | Duration: 00:36:26

Show Links
Nancy Duarte of Duarte Design
Jim Endicott of Distinction Services 
Julie Terberg of Terberg Design
Slide:ology by Nancy Duarte
The Ted Conference  
The Computer History Museum
Microsoft Roundtable 
Cisco Telepresencel

Photos by Rik Flohr

What is MVP Disease?

Echo and Julie
 What is MVP disease?  And more important, how do you benefit from it?

annual PowerPoint Live conference is a regular opportunity to catch up with some of our favorite presentations professionals, and to record a few podcasts of course.  In this first of two episodes we sit down for a session with a record SEVEN commentators. 

These are the PowerPoint MVPs, an amazing group of volunteers who spend their time and energy helping you out with advice and solutions through web sites and the PowerPoint newsgroups.  At PowerPoint Live they help keep the conference running by presenting and running an amazing help center for the duration of the conference, but they still found time to sit down for a great chat. 

Troy and Steve
 Listen Now (click the play button below) or Subscribe!


Download | Duration: 00:38:36

The Microsoft MVP Program:
Finding help with the PowerPoint Newsgroups:

The PPT Live Conference:
John and Sandy

Dramtis personæ
Echo Swinford
John Wilson
Julie Terberg
Sandra Johnson
Todd Dunn
Troy Chollar

                             So long Brian...

 All photos by Troy Chollar, used with permission.

Delayed, but almost here...

Well, the next podcast is in sight, delayed slightly, but worth the wait.  A huge session with more speakers than ever, over seven guests talking about what it means to be in the PowerPoint MVP program, is in post-edit production.  (Translation: the main show audio is edited, but I'm too sleepy right now to finish the production edit.

The show will post in a day or so, so come back and listen!  In the meantime, here's a sneak peek from the show...

Left to right, John Wilson, Sandra Johnson, Echo Swinford, Julie Terberg, Ric Bretschneider, Troy Chollar, and Steve Rindsberg at the microphones.  (Not pictured, Todd Dunn).

Photo and 3D stitching by Troy Chollar

Next up: Two New Podcasts from PowerPoint Live 2008

Jim Endicott and Nancy DuarteOK, we're getting back to the roots here.

The first set of Presentations Roundtable podcasts I produced were recorded at the PowerPoint Live 2007 conference in New Orleans about a year ago.  Well, September was a busy month, a lot of extra activity due to PowerPoint Live 2008. This year returning to San Diego California, we recorded two sessions which are currently in post-production. 

The first is a pretty wild session with a large group of PowerPoint MVPs - these are the "Most Valuable Professionals" who, although they don't actually work for Microsoft, spend an enormous amount of time supporting the product and it's customers. You won't find a more concentrated group of true PowerPoint experts anywhere.  And they're a pretty roudy group.  We break our "number of people at the roundtable" record with this session!

The second session brings together three of my favorite experts on presenting and design. Julie Terberg, Jim Endicott, and Nancy Duarte reprise their recording session from last year.  This is a great opportunity to reflect on the state of presentations and how it's changed over the last twelve months. 

Expect to see the PPT MVP roundtable up this weekend.


Remembering Brian

I'm repeating a blog I wrote earlier this week for the PowerPoint Team Blog. I don't usually cross paths on content, but I hope you'll forgive me this one, personal moment. -Ric

Pardon me for a somewhat personal departure from our usual topics, but I think it’s important to note that Brian is no longer here to help us continue developing new versions of PowerPoint for you.

Brian Reilly passed from this world last week.  Brian was a PowerPoint MVP; a Most Valued Professional.  And you really should have known Brian.

Brian ReillyIn 2002 I took on the responsibility for managing the PowerPoint team communications with our MVPs.  This was not a reward, we had a pretty rocky relationship with the MVPs at that time, mostly because no one on the team had really spent any time figuring out what the program was about or how we might profit from the relationship.  That’s changed a lot over the years, but at the time it was a somewhat frightening assignment.

Most vocal among the PowerPoint MVPs was a guy named Brian Reilly.  He had the reputation of being rude and annoyingly persistent, and of not taking no for an answer.  His mails, the only contact I’d had with him, were very blunt in telling us where we’d gone wrong in developing the product.  I set up our first MVP group phone conference with more than a little concern about what Brian would say.

The meeting started and after a few minutes of listening I realized one thing about Brian. It wasn’t that he was willfully rude or abusive.  He was just a “typical New Yorker,” and there was nothing really personal in his assessment of our situation.  I realized I could deal with this, and we went on to develop a really productive and enjoyable relationship.

Brian was loved among the MVP program, in the way you can only love a paradox.  Impish and mischievous one moment, dead serious and analytical another, and always looking to make sure everyone was taken care of, that no one was left behind, left out, or unrecognized in their achievements.

Brian and Debbie Bretschneider in NYCIn the last couple of years New York city has become a personal favorite vacation spot for my family.  Brian showed up on our first day there teach us the city, walking us up and down the streets and avenues, explaining how they worked, how to ride the subway, how to get lost in Greenwich Village.  To this day my son still quotes Brian about how “in New York, it’s dinner time when you want to eat dinner.”

I miss him already, and the thought that I will no longer get his insights and advice, or be the subject of his jokes or pranks… will have its effect for quite a while.

You should know Brian was a fierce advocate for you, the PowerPoint user.  Your work in PowerPoint is made easier because he was just such a unique person. I’m sorry that most of you never had a chance to meet him, or thank him. 

Brian is survived by his brothers Joe and Bill, and his sister Mary Horton.  Those of us who knew Brian will be observing a minute of silence on Sunday the 28th, 8am Pacific in Seattle and California, 11am Eastern Daylight in New York and Cincinnati, 4pm British Summer Time in London and Surrey, and 8:30pm Coordinated Universal time +5:30 hrs in Chennai, India. 

If you have the opportunity to join us for that moment, wherever you are, please do.

Ric Bretschneider
September 26, 2008

My PowerPoint Summer: Five Intern Tales

  What's it like to work on the world's leading presentation software program... for three months?

 This episode is a bit of a change of pace, as we take advantage of a pretty geeky opportunity to talk with five guys who chose to spend their summer vacation interning on the Microsoft PowerPoint development team. 

Direct from the Microsoft Silicon Valley Campus, 
 we sit down with (pictured left to right) Trevor Florence, Nirav Sanghani, Mike Rodgers, Jesse Harvey, and Luiz Franca Pereira Filho to learn all about their Microsoft California Summer adventure.

It's a fun and informative change of pace episode.  Enjoy!

Listen Now (click the play button below) or Subscribe!


Download | Duration: 00:44:36

Links mentioned in the podcast, and a few more:

Microsoft's Silicon Valley Campus

PowerPoint Team: Introducing the 2008 Summer Interns

Slide:ology - It's Out Now!

The big brown UPS truck stopped by today. It always seems like a good omen when UPS rolls up the street - it's always something we want to see, to have, to share with others. 

Today was no exception. A flat heavy box. Torn open... a very nice surprise
: Slide:ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations. After so many months of anticipation, here it is at last. 

I know I've said this before, but this is a book you need. If you haven't listened to Nancy Duarte, Doug Neff, and Michael Moon discuss the origins, content, and future of Slide:ology, you should go back and check it out.

Still not convinced? Follow
the link
to Amazon and click on the picture of the book cover marked Search Inside. Click the "Surprise Me" link in the table of contents. This will make a random jump into the book content. You'll have trouble finding a page that won't entice you to read further and further.

Ah the smell of a new book...


And the Duarte team keeps on giving. The Slide:ology web site and blog launched! Even without buying the book you can check out much of the materials that went into the book, along with additional content, training, resources and links, and a fairly regularly blog.  Nancy, Doug and Michael have been tag-teaming through a series of personal, entertaining, and educational entries.  Again, very much worth your time.

Now, for those of you who are saying "OK, I get it, I've ordered it, get on with the next subject!" Thanks for reading this far. Yes, I hear you.  Moving on. The next podcast is recorded, being edited, and probably out after a short weekend trip. The biggest roundtable yet!  Six voices all taking about their unique experiences with PowerPoint this summer. It s a fun change-up discussion that I'm anxious to share with you.

Until then, happy Summer reading!

Slide:ology - The Duarte Manifesto

If you remember one thing, it should be the title: Slide:ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations.

I've said before, you need this book.
I've been fortunate enough to have read a recent draft and it's great: a visual and intellectual treat for the presenter. Whether you're a presentation novice, or feel like the podium is your home away from home, this set of tools for creating amazing slides is going to be your go-to reference and inspiration for a very long time.

What role did the Las Vegas Bellagio play in establishing the structure of the book. What's with that colon? How did a how-to book turn into a manifesto? Learn why slide composition is like theater set design, and how you might contribute to the future history of visual communications.

Slide:ology will be out in early August. For now, get a sneak peek into Slide:ology by eavesdropping on the folks who wrote the "The Duarte Manifesto."  

Listen Now (click the play button below) or Subscribe!


Download | Duration: 00:42:26

Left to right, Doug Neff, Nancy Duarte, Michael Moon

And, as promised, here are the links mentioned in the podcast, and a few more:

     Duarte Design

     The Duarte Staff Page

     Slide:ology - The Blog

     O'Reilly Press
     O'Reilly Press Slide:ology page

     Duarte Webinar for VizThink

     Duarte Keynote for PowerPoint Live 2007

     The Bellagio - Las Vegas

Slide:ology will be available in early August

The Book You Need

Remember this title: Slide:ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations.

You need this book.

Unfortunately you can't get it yet, because it hasn't been published. I've had the chance to check out a pre-publication draft and it's amazing. Simply put, I can't think of any presenter who won't benefit from reading it.

Nancy Duarte is the author. Yes, that's the same Duarte of Duarte Design, the firm behind the graphics and slides Al Gore uses in his Inconvenient Truth presentation and movie.

Nancy Duarte
In Slide:ology, Duarte takes on the problems of presenting by defining process; isolating each step in conceiving, composing, and delivering great presentations. And of course, the clear communications style defined is an aid beyond presentations, applicable to just about any form of communication. 

It's a stunning book, visually and intellectually, and if you're a presenter worried about "Death by PowerPoint" it will change your world. Some of the book's two-page spreads are just aching to be framed and hung in your office. Am I exaggerating? No, not at all.

Slide:ology will be available in early August

And the next podcast...

I'm planning on bringing Nancy Duarte back to the Presentations Roundtable microphones in a few days. Nancy was on episode one, and I think she's way overdue for a visit. And of course, Slide:ology will be a big focus of that visit.

Be sure to pre-order your copy. This is a must buy for anyone who wants to produce professional presentations.


And, hey, just in case you don't know Duarte, here are some links to check out:

     Duarte Webinar for VizThink

     Duarte Keynote for PowerPoint Live 2007

     Duarte Designs


-Ric Bretschneider July 15, 2008

All Present, Standing Up

Listen Now (click below) or Subscribe!

Download | Duration: 00:58:03

  Our recent visit with Presentation Zen's Garr Reynolds was somewhat longer than most, so it was originally published in two parts.  This edition combines them into one file.

In one of the most popular roundtables so far we caught up with Garr and learned how the Presentation Zen book has been doing, heard all about his intercontinental road trip. 


We were joined by Howard Cooperstein, software designer and stand-up
comic, for a discussion of humor in presentations and the relationships between stand up comedy and stand up presentations. 

It was a fun and funny discussion, and surprisingly full of good presentation advice you can immediately apply in your own work.

If you already caught the prior sessions, this is simply a different edit of the same material, but you may still enjoy listening to the discussion uninterrupted.

Mentioned in this episode:
Presentation Zen - The Blog
Presentation Zen - The Book
Presentation Zen on Flickr
Sir Ken Robinson - TED Talk
Radio Lab WNYC
Don McMillian
Drennon Davis
Tim Lee

Garr Reynolds Presents...
Richard Quest
Safari Books Online
New Riders