Ric Bretschneider

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Four Days to Better Presenting – Yes, You Can!

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Oh dear. Another drab blog entry about presenting.  Well, maybe not.

If you hear the title Presentation Summit, you might picture an international cabal, those folks from around the world whose job it is to keep presentations bland, sleep-inducing and dreaded.  The Illuminati of bullet points, of text too small to read, creators of impenetrable charts, and irrelevant clip art.  Lord, I can picture them too!

But no, that’s not it at all.  In fact, its almost exactly the opposite.

Scottsdale AZ, Presentation Summit 2012

For almost a decade Rick Altman has been bringing expert professional presenters together at events around the country to show attendees that there is no inevitability to Death by PowerPoint.  Originally titled “PowerPoint Live” this Presentation Summit is something I personally look forward to each year whether I’m presenting or not.

What you will learn

To be a great presenter you need a number of things.

  • Respect for your audience – to know them, to know their needs, and to know how to move them
  • A message – what you are delivering, where you want to move your audience
  • Skills – crafting your message, making it meet your needs and engaging your audience
  • …and a certain je ne sais quoi. That certain something in your presence that makes the audience want to follow you to the end

And I’m not exaggerating when I say that you can grow your presenting skill set in all four areas at the Presentation Summit.

How’s it work?

The conference is three tracks of presentations, over three days.  There’s a bonus fourth day you can sign up for even more intense training.  The three tracks are

Design It, where you learn how to better construct slides to more clearly communicate with compelling graphics and just the right amount of message per slide.

Build It, the track that concentrates on learning the tools, presentation, photographic, and graphic construction, that help you craft the right presentation to support your conversation with the audience.

Present It, the art of standing in front of a room full of strangers and helping them see the benefit of your message. One of the most difficult things to do well, and certainly one of the most valuable skills to build.

Over the course of the summit, there’s more than enough to keep you busy and build your ability to present.  But there are also larger group sessions, mixers and networking opportunities, vendor fairs, group excursions… it’s hard to imagine how it all gets crammed into a few days.

Who is there?

OK, I’m one of the people presenting, and I’ll talk more about me later.  But I’m only a small part of a big talented crew.  Professionals from all over the world, from England to Australia, from India to Silicon Valley, it’s a talented team.

But I want to spotlight a couple of folks who attend who are closer to being the Presentation Illuminati, and certainly a lot nicer.  The PowerPoint MVPs.

PowerPoint MVPs at the Presentation Summit, left to right: Geetesh Bajaj, John Wilson, Echo Swinford, Me, Julie Terberg, Sandy Johnson, Troy Chollar, and Glenna Shaw – A few of the Microsoft PowerPoint MVPs who will be in attendance.

If you don’t know what a Microsoft MVP is, you should read about it here.  In short, they’re experts in a Microsoft application, chosen by Microsoft to have direct contact with the development team to provide feedback and help other users of the program.  The PowerPoint MVPs are the best of the best.  No brag, just fact.  Google any of the names above if you need evidence of this.


So if you’re interested in finding out more, Rick Altman the father of the feast says it best on the Presentation Summit web site.  There’s more information on session specifics, the presenters, and how to justify going to your boss.  No kidding, it’s like he’s doing all the work for you!

A little fun

OK, a little fun now.  You may have noticed that the Sessions page for the summit has little videos from most of the presenters.  Mine should be up there, but I was late getting them to Rick and he’s off on some island now resting up for the run-up to the October event.  So they’ll be up there eventually, but in the meantime I thought I’d give you a sneak peek at what I’m presenting at this year’s summit.



Pecha Kucha Lessons for Business at Presentation Summit 2012

I’m presenting on how business presenters can learn from Pecha Kucha presentations at this year’s Presentation Summit. This video is a short introduction for that session, which will appear on the Presentation Summit schedule page. I’ve given it a little twist of humor, which I hope you’ll enjoy.

Yes, some of the punchlines blink on a little too fast to see the first time. That’s intentional. I’m weird. Thanks for your concern.

Presenting on the iPad at Presentation Summit 2012

I’m presenting a how-to and how-not-to session on using the iPad as your primary presenting tool at this year’s Presentation Summit. This video is a short introduction for that session, which will appear on the Presentation Summit schedule page. I’ve given it a little twist of humor, which I hope you’ll enjoy.

Hint: Pay attention to the background.

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August 11, 2012 at 11:03 pm

This is so easy to do…

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There are some things that are such a pleasure to do, to pass along, to endorse… it kind of feels like cheating, like “duh” this doesn’t even have to be said.

Yeah, this is one of those.

I love the Duarte group.  Their talent, their staff, their ethic, their genuine passion, all so refreshing and inspiring. And when they produce something you, Joe and Jane Everyone, can hold in your hand for a couple of bucks, well that’s really cool.

Today Nancy Duarte announced on the Duarte blog the publication of the iPad version of their book Resonate.

And I’m going to stop right there. No further loving hyperbole.  No more glowing endorsement.  Just one instruction that will cost you absolutely nothing.

If you have an iPad, click here to get to the iTunes page. There it’s easy to download the free sample of a section of Resonate.  Watch that.  Read it.  You’ll be captivated from the first match strike, from the inspired visualization of how an idea travels between people, the power of a speaker and audience connecting, and then you’ll start to learn to do it yourself.

Yeah, that was really easy.

Written by ricbret

April 19, 2012 at 5:26 pm


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Justin and I decided to take the new car out for a longish drive on Friday, in preparation for our longer drive to Anaheim next weekend.  We bascially went counter-clockwise around the bay, stops in Berkeley, Marin, San Francisco, and San Mateo. Here are some snapshots from the vista point North of the Golden Gate Bridge.

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November 12, 2006 at 10:32 pm

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Lunch yesterday in Commander’s Palace in Las Vegas. CP is a reproduction of a famous New Orlean’s eatery (which is currently shut down thanks to recent weather.) This is a lovely restaurant, posh and delicious. A jazz trio wanders about, great clarinetist who doubled as their vocalist. They played Do You Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans at one point.

Remember hearing a classic recording of Louis Armstrong singing this, classic jazz – always enjoyable, but terribly ironic these days was never more poignant.

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September 19, 2005 at 11:32 am

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Justin went off to Angel Island recently on an overnight camp out/bike excursion.  I got pictures from one of the scoutmasters last week and published them on the BSA 318 site I maintain for the troop.  Here’s a sample with everyone’s favorite tall scout.  Geez that kid is almost as tall as me, but he still only weighs 130 soaking wet.

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July 12, 2005 at 8:30 am

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We’re in Bend today.  Nine hour drive yesterday.  Usually we do a book on tape for the drive but this time it was all satellite radio and Podcasts.  Never been to bend?  More info here:  http://www.city-data.com/city/Bend-Oregon.html

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July 2, 2005 at 8:06 am

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Fake picture blog from NY

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Picture that was taken in New York of a burning garbage bin.  You could see the smoke for blocks, and it was plastic stuff so you could smell it as far away or more.  Guy in front of the smoke was using a huge fire extinguisher to put it out.  Hmm. This must happen all the time.

Oh, this is fake because I didn’t send it live from NY, but it was a picture on my computer from my phone so I used it to try out posting with pictures.  Mystery no more.

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June 18, 2005 at 8:56 am

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