Presentation Management 26: The Future of Presentations

Presentation Management 26: The Future of Presentations

Created: Thursday, December 9, 2021, posted by at 9:30 am

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Original content by AlexAnndra Ontra and James Ontra
Enhanced by Geetesh Bajaj

In the previous part of this Presentation Management series of posts, we explored how you can organize content for story presentations. In this part, we look at how the presentations of the future will work.

If you think about it, over the past century humans have been forced to adapt to technology and the structure it creates. It’s not “normal” to work from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or write by typing on a QWERTY keyboard. Presentations are another example. We create linear slide decks, then conform our work conversations to the deck because that’s the way the technology works, by showing us one slide at a time, in order. It’s not the way we’d naturally talk and discuss a topic, but if we want to use technology, we have to do it technology’s way.

In this century, technology is increasingly conforming to the way humans do things. Like, we can talk to our devices instead of tapping on a tiny screen. Presentations are moving that way, too. In fact, it is the biggest change in the nature of business presentations since the advent of PowerPoint. For the first time, the technology and the linear presentation deck will no longer dictate the conversation and interaction.

Instead, the conversation will dictate the presentation. Thanks to voice recognition and artificial intelligence, the next generation of presentation technology will listen to what’s being said, comprehend the context in the room, know what visual content is available in the approved presentation management system, and automatically and instantly bring up visuals that fit the conversation at that moment. It’s almost like having a personal assistant at your side, listening and watching the room, and instantly finding and showing images that are exactly what’s needed in-the-moment.

The Future of Presentations

The Future of Presentations

How it Happens?

How would technology like that work in practice? Imagine this scenario:

  1. The CEO of a major cruise line is speaking at a travel conference in an auditorium that only seats 100 people. He cues up his presentation management app, and projects slide content on the big screen and a few monitors inside the auditorium, as well as outside in the hallway and all around the convention center. Anyone who sees it, either sitting in the live audience, walking by one of those monitors, or browsing on a website, can participate in his presentation. They can log in to the presentation on their own phone or another device. After all, they have full A/V on their phone, where they can hear his presentation and see his slides.
  2. Someone in the audience raises his hand and asks a question that everyone in the audience, whether they are physically sitting in the auditorium or have logged in from 1,000 miles away, can hear.
  3. Can you tell me more about cruises to Alaska?
  4. As the voice-recognition technology processes the words in the question, AI starts to sort through the speaker’s presentation library, which includes all content about the cruise line.
  5. Up pops slides with visual support for the question. The audience will see pictures of the Kenai Fjords, snow-capped mountains, and a luxurious cruise ship, with every pampering amenity you could imagine, sailing through it all. It’s conversational AI broadcast to the entire world.

Presentations will become more dynamic, more fluid, more like the human thought process. And the technology we use for presentations will become an afterthought.

And this is right around the corner – the way presentations will be within a few years. Voice-recognition technology is exploding. In a few years, it is estimated that over half of all searches will be powered by speech instead of keyboard input, according to comScore. That means that during an interactive presentation, the technology can listen to the audience’s comments and questions. Those questions and comments will prompt a search. Suggestions for slides to present will appear based on the conversation as it unfolds.

That technology will expand with Predictive Slides™. Your presentation management app will offer slide suggestions based on a range of variables, such as who you are, the last slides you used, the slides your colleagues used, the audience, the most popular slides, and on and on. Companies will be able to customize those variables based on the individual user, and the presentation will be created based on those inputs and variables. It’s similar to how shopping on Amazon works. Amazon presents products based on your purchase and browsing history. Your presentation management app will present slides in a similar way.

Uisng Predictive Slides™

There has been a gap of so much time since AlexAnndra Ontra and James Ontra authored the book that’s being made more visual and serialized. In technology terms, this span of time could be termed as one generation. So, I was curious about how the Predictive Slides™ technology has evolved, especially since the world has been gripped by a pandemic in that same period of time. Let’s hear it from James, who kindly shared some thoughts.

Geetesh: James, will this Predictive Slides™ technology be built into Shufflrr?

James Ontra

James Ontra
James: Yes, it will be built into Shufflrr.

If you’ve used Netflix or a similar media platform, you’ll find similarities. Netflix is an onscreen design that works like a slide. If you’re looking at your TV, you’ll find that Netflix is essentially a slide with navigation. And they are pulling up more slides behind the scenes as you click on an option. Over a period of time, they have studied usage patterns, including your preferences, and can recommend related shows.

With related shows, they may have noticed that you like horse racing. Therefore, there will be a recommendation for another horse racing show. They may also notice that users who watch horse racing also like leather clothing. So, artificial intelligence is helping them address your needs better.

We used to collect thousands of presentation slides for conventions, where people put them on their podiums and spoke. So, the AI in Predictive Slides™ can provide a few selected slides that might be relevant to what you said, and then you pick the one you want. And your picked-up slide comes up next. This is what we call “the presentation following the conversation”.

This will also work at the slide level. Based on the user’s input and criteria, slides will pull information from different databases to create a specific slide for one specific instance. For example, a financial adviser is meeting with his client. Today, he searches several different databases to review that client’s portfolio, credit card debt, stock positions, and IRAs, as well as age, income, and stated financial goals.

With all that information culled together, the adviser will then input that into another database to get suggestions for changes to the portfolio. And then, the adviser, or his admin, will create a nice slideshow. That’s labor-intensive and prone to lots of human errors.  In the future, all of this data will feed directly into a formatted, branded slide … visualized and ready to present.

Predictive Slides

Predictive Slides

Predictive Slides™ can be generated before the meeting or during the meeting, as the conversation progresses.

During the meeting, the slides themselves will be created according to verbal inputs based on what people are saying:

  1. Imagine the financial adviser is meeting with that client for the first time. He discusses the client’s current financial status, her salary, her credit cards, mortgage, age, expenses, and goals for her retirement.
  2. As the client speaks, the presentation app is accessing various financial databases to build her portfolio and then creates the slides on the fly.
  3. The adviser and the client review the presentation together. The operative word in this is scenario is together. The adviser is not presenting to, or talking at, the client. He’s discussing the financial plan with her. She’s responding, and the presentation is updating according to her immediate feedback. So the adviser can focus on the client, not the slides.
  4. The slides fall to the background while the two parties make a human connection, fostering trust and building a better relationship.  They learn more about each other. The adviser not only gets a better understanding of his client’s financial goals, which is the purpose of the meeting but also of her personal life, which certainly affects her finances.
  5. In the process, the client starts to trust her adviser and starts to see him as someone genuinely interested in helping her achieve her financial goals. After all, that’s what usually happens when you break down barriers and just start talking with someone.
  6. As a result, the adviser is in a better position to help his client, because he knows more about her, and the client gets a better financial plan. It may sound ironic, but presentation technology will encourage human connection.

Advances in technology will free us from the very technology to which we’ve become so addicted. Hardware continues to get smaller and cheaper. You will be able to access your presentations from your phone, your watch, and maybe even your glasses. Smaller devices will become ubiquitous, and as that happens they will also fall into the background. A watch is an accessory, it’s not the outfit. Look around today and you’ll see most people glued to a screen, clicking, searching, and scrolling through data, scrolling through slides. AI and voice recognition will flip that dynamic. As the searching and scrolling through data is done for us — as it follows our voice commands and conversations — we get freed from our devices.

When our eyes are separated from a screen and our hands are freed from a keyboard, we are back in control of our lives. We can look up and around. Look at our friend, our business partner, the other people in the room. We can see them, talk with them and, above all, make a real connection with them. This is important in business, where having the latest gadget is a status symbol, but it’s also a distraction. Everyone is so busy checking out your new Apple Watch that they forget about doing the new budget allocations. And it’s even more important at the dinner table, where everyone is interacting with their phones instead of each other. Advances in AI, voice recognition, and presentation technology will correct technology’s worst flaws. They will free us from the devices and apps to which we’ve become enslaved, empower us to be more productive in our daily jobs, and above all allow us to connect with each other in a more meaningful way and form stronger bonds. That’s progress.

The next part will conclude this series.

Presentation Management Series: All Posts

All posts from the Presentation Management series are listed on this page, Presentation Management: The Entire Series.


First, try and answer these questions. Feel free to read the post again if needed. Then, scroll down to below the author profiles to find the answers.

Q1: For the first time, the technology and the linear presentation deck will no longer dictate the conversation and interaction. Instead, the conversation will dictate the presentation. How true are these observations?

  1. Could be true, but may possible very far in the future
  2. Figment of someone’s imagination
  3. Truer and closer to happening than many may have imagined
  4. Truth is stranger than fiction

Q2: What is the name of the technology from Shufflrr that will generate content before the meeting or during the meeting, as the conversation progresses?

AlexAnndra Ontra

AlexAnndra Ontra
AlexAnndra Ontra, co-founder of Shufflrr, is a leading advocate for presentation management. She has been providing presentation technology and consulting services to global enterprises for over 15 years.

At Shufflrr, Alex advises Shufflrr clients through the process: from trial to content architecture, through the launch, training, and then on-going software upgrades. She’s hands-on. She is a leading expert in presentation management strategy, implementation, and adaptation.


James Ontra

James Ontra
James Ontra is co-founder and CEO of Shufflrr.  His 30-year career has focused on the highest profile presentations for world class companies.  His clients have included:  American Express, Bloomberg, Epcot Center, Mercedes Benz, NBC Olympics, Warner Bros. and many more.

His vision and strategy have been driving Presentation Management to become a recognized communication discipline. James combined this passion with technical development to build Shufflrr. Presentation Management is smart communication strategy.


Geetesh Bajaj

Geetesh Bajaj
Geetesh Bajaj is an awarded Microsoft PowerPoint MVP (Most Valuable Professional), and has been designing and training with PowerPoint for more than two decades. He heads Indezine, a presentation design studio and content development organization based out of Hyderabad, India.

Geetesh believes that any PowerPoint presentation is a sum of its elements–these elements include abstract elements like story, consistency, and interactivity — and also slide elements like shapes, graphics, charts, text, sound, video, and animation. He explains how these elements work together in his training sessions. He has also authored six books on PowerPoint and Microsoft Office.

Quiz Answers

A1: This isruer and closer to happening than many may have imagined. Thanks to voice recognition and artificial intelligence, the next generation of presentation technology will listen to what’s being said, comprehend the context in the room, know what visual content is available in the approved presentation management system, and automatically and instantly bring up visuals that fit the conversation at that moment.

A2: Predictive Slides™

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