The Presentation Guild

Learn about the Presentation Guild, a presentations community

The Presentation Guild
The Presentation Guild. Geetesh Bajaj

The Presentation Guild was a longstanding idea that recently came to fruition, thanks to a dedicated community of presentation designers and professionals, who spearheaded the movement to form this Guild.

Echo Swinford, President of the Presentation Guild was quoted in a recent interview, "The Presentation Guild is a brand spankin’ new association for those of us working in the presentations industry.

The main purpose of the Guild to support people who support presentations in all the many and varied ways we do: designing slides, developing stories, coding software, operating graphics systems during meetings, the list goes on and on. We also want to bring awareness of our industry to the larger community in order to increase our opportunities to improve presentations everywhere."

Other than the President, the Guild also has the following members, who constitute the Board:

  • Sandra Johnson,Vice President
  • Steve Rindsberg, Treasurer
  • Charles Cranford, Secretary
  • Rick Altman, Director
  • Geetesh Bajaj, Director
  • Ric Bretschneider, Director
  • Stephy Lewis, Director
  • Marshall Makstein, Director
  • Tony Ramos, Director
  • Glenna Shaw, Director
  • Julie Terberg, Art Director

Additionally, there is an Advisory Board that comprises:

I asked a few of the Directors to explain what the Presentation Guild meant to them.

 Here are their responses.

Stephy Lewis

"I’ve been in the Washington DC area for almost half of my life. It’s the nation’s political hub and home to the association corridor. “There’s an association for everything.” I heard it constantly. I was surrounded by them. Associations, guilds, societies, foundations, councils—hundreds upon hundreds of specialized groups for the most niche aspects you would ever hear of.

There’s even the Association for Renaissance Martial Arts. If I was an actor working at RenFest, I would be covered. But as a presentation professional? I couldn’t find anything. 

Now we have our own specialized group: the Presentation Guild. 

Now I have a place where I can go to 24/7 to find people like me. I can find tech support, friends, learn new things, and most importantly work out a way to polish the tarnish from any job title related to creating presentations and bringing them to life. 

The Guild is going to elevate our entire field. It’s going to pull noses out of the air and enlighten the brains attached to those noses to the complexities and importance of what it is we really do. I am looking forward to a time when, “oh, you work in PowerPoint?” is not a phrase dripping with disdain but is instead one filled with understanding and respect for the planning, analysis, storytelling, design, and technical skill that goes into everything we touch.

The Guild is not just a membership association. It’s a family. We support each other, encourage each other, teach each other. 

The Guild is an uprising and it’s going to transform our field.

Join the rebellion."

Tony Ramos

"You know how origin stories often share a theme?

Themes like "I wrote the book that I wanted to read because this story hadn't been told" or "I invented this widget out of necessity." This is me right now in 2016, lending a hand to help create the organization I wish was around in 1993 when I was hired to make slide decks for management consultants. Yes, some were made into 35mm film slides and placed in carousels. (Yes, color film was invented by then. Shut up.)

I got the job because of skills I had in business communications, but I knew nothing about PowerPoint or presentation technology. I looked around for a group to tap into since group strengths served me well in the past. I worked as a writer and editor for trade association publications. I also sat on a board of directors for a membership retail cooperative.

Still, every morning when I launched PowerPoint, I knew that (outside of the then-nascent user groups and forums) there was no group for me.

Tips and tricks came to me from (and rarely traveled no further than) the sticky notes I pinned to the fuzzy, putty-colored fabric of my cubicle walls.

Fast forward to the internet era. For years, I scooped up and reshared PowerPoint and presentation information through blog posts and then tweets. I began attending what was then called PowerPoint Live, now the Presentation Summit. Comradery, instruction, resources! It was a revelation. Once a year for a handful of days, it was my group.

Finally, I take a phone call. "Hey Tony, we're creating this group that..."

Say no more. I'm in."

Sandra Johnson

"Margaret Mead once said, “A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.”

She must have been thinking about the Presentation Guild.  Not only does the Guild exist to support and elevate its members in their varying presentation professional roles, we will, with the critical mass of our members, transform the presentation industry to earn its place as a bona fide career path."

Steve Rindsberg

"There are occasional events like Presentation Summit where members of the community of presentation people can gather, meet, share ideas and techniques, and that's wonderful.  But the Presentation Guild will be a year-round 24x7 virtual meet/greet/learn event for all of us. And it will help to convince the world that we're not just slide-jockeys, but real professionals in a demanding field."

Echo Swinford

"I'm just glad there's now hope that my mom will someday understand what I do."

Ric Bretschneider

"My experience working on the PowerPoint application at Microsoft taught me much, but the singular undeniable point I learned was that no amount of technology can make up for the human factor. No one should expect that simply given an unfamiliar tool they can produce professional results without training. And so few take advantage of the resources available to them. 

The Presentation Guild is the solution to a major communication problem. The Guild is chartered with expanding industry awareness of presentation professionals and providing support for those same professionals.

This organization recognizes the importance of the people who take a bunch of raw data or an existing bad presentation and make it something that will impress and compel an audience. The Guild leadership is composed of some of the best people already doing this on a day-to-day basis. An organization with hundreds of years experience in the field. If it was going to happen, these are the people who had to do it.

When you join the Presentation Guild, you're not just someone on a newsletter list, you're part of an army dedicated to eradicating bad presentations. You share the information, the resources and the camaraderie of presentation professionals worldwide.

It’s been a long time coming."

Glenna Shaw

"A medieval guild was defined as an association of persons of the same trade or pursuits, formed to protect mutual interests and maintain craft standards. I think that perfectly describes what the Presentation Guild means to me.

We are the knights of the round table for the presentation industry and through our efforts, we will elevate our professional reputation, establish reliable standards for our trade, and provide opportunities for artisans to hone their craft. For me it is much more than a membership, it is a calling. I am beyond proud to be a part of this endeavor."

Disclaimer: Author Geetesh Bajaj is a Director of the Presentation Guild.

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Bajaj, Geetesh. "The Presentation Guild." ThoughtCo, Feb. 10, 2017, Bajaj, Geetesh. (2017, February 10). The Presentation Guild. Retrieved from Bajaj, Geetesh. "The Presentation Guild." ThoughtCo. (accessed November 23, 2017).