Editor’s note: The following post was written by Community Program Manager Kari Finn
The world’s leading conference aimed at learning how to be a better presenter took place last week in Scottsdale Arizona and Microsoft PowerPoint MVPs were there in force. The Presentation Summit drew total of 14 MVPs from the US, India, Australia and the UK to lead over a dozen technical sessions and log numerous hours supporting attendees in the open Help Center. All combined, MVPs made up almost 40% of the presenters this year.
Geetesh Bajaj (pictured below) helps an attendee in the Help Center.
According to one of the conference founders, Rick Altman, the Summit, which celebrated its 10thanniversary this year, has grown to cover a broad landscape of topics, from message crafting, presentation design, better storytelling, software technique, and delivery. This year, there were almost three dozen individual workshops or seminars across three concurrent tracks over four days. While some were attractive to a cozy group of two or three dozen, others played to standing-room-only crowds of nearly 100. The content covered everything from using animation better to learning XML editing tips to previewing the new PowerPoint 2013.
MVP RicBretschneider led a particularly interesting session called “The Late Night Guru Session,” where he hosted conference attendees, MVPs and members of the PowerPoint Product Group to have a no-holds-barred discussion about PowerPoint.
It’s this kind of direct feedback that’s invaluable to Microsoft.
“There are a lot of things that are better than they have ever been before in PowerPoint 2013, and it’s thanks to direct feedback from customers, many of whom we’ve met in person at the Presentation Summit over the years. There’s no better way to make the right changes than to develop real relationships with real customers.” -Chris Maloney, PowerPoint Program Manager
The entire MVP contingency this year comprised of Echo Swinford,Ellen Finkelstein, Heather Ackmann,Julie Terberg,Glenna Shaw,Sandy Johnson,John Wilson,Glen Millar,Steve Rinsdberg,Shyam Pillam,RicBretschneider, Lucy Thomsonand Geetesh Bajaj. In addition to leading sessions and workshops, many of our MVPs also spent time in a very cool open format “Help Center” where attendees can help on any kind of issue they’re having or to learn more about what they learned in a session.
“I love working at the Help Center. It’s so great when a presenter shows a technique in one of their sessions and you know it’s a good one when the users flood the Center to learn how to do it.” –Sandy Johnson, MVP
It was a truly awe-inspiring event that brought together experts and new users alike, teachers and presenting professionals as well as the engineers that build PowerPoint and our MVPs. Together, this rich engagement across the community and Microsoft is leading to better skills at presenting and building better products.
“Presentation Summit is a uniquely satisfying event. Building both soft and hard skills is a focus, the agony of deciding which panel to attend is a sure sign of a ripe agenda. Rick Altman and his staff assemble a great array of presentation experts who are eager to share. The real hidden blessing of this event is the community that grows out of each year’s sessiosn, and the friends you can catch up with again at the next.”- RicBretschneider, MVP
For a fun look at the conference, check out this five minute video that Rick Altman put together.
Kari Finn is a Microsoft Community Program Manager who manages the relationship with the US Based Office Technology MVPs. She is inspired every day by the power of communities and feels lucky to be able to work with one of the most thriving technology communities today. She truly enjoys engaging with MVPs and supporting them in their pursuits to share their knowledge and passion with the community.