Stephy is 2 parts designer, 2 parts developer, 3 parts perfectionist, and 1 part impatient mother. She's a founding board member and Vice President on the Presentation Guild board of directors, is a design engineer by day, runs her own business by night, barely plays guitar, and loves glitter. Once, she drove through a tire fire on a golf cart at work when she was a chemist. Now she enjoys making typically mundane experiences a lot more fun--like sitting through an 80 slide benefits presentation, dealing with that really crappy website, or reading this bio.
Connecting with Stephy
Three Quotes From This Episode
About Your Host Scott J. Allen, Ph.D.
Scott is the Standard Products—Dr. James S. Reid Chair in Management at John Carroll University. He is an associate professor and teaches courses in leadership, management skills, and executive communication. He is also a communications coach, consultant, author, podcast host, and entrepreneur. For almost two decades, he’s worked with clients to improve their leadership and communication skills.
Note: Voice-to-text transcriptions are about 90% accurate.
Scott Allen 0:18
Imagine being the best online presenter in the zoom. The captivation podcast explores our digital presence, from building stellar online presentation skills to designing the perfect deck to figuring out those tech glitches that prevent that seamless flow. We all seek online presentations. They're here to stay. So let's master them. Our ultimate goal is to build confidence, your confidence. So before today's show, here's how you can stay in touch, visit www capital vation.ai. or connect with us on Twitter or LinkedIn. Those addresses are in the show notes. And of course, you can also subscribe so you know, when we release an episode each week, and now, today's show. Okay, everybody, welcome to the captivation podcast. This is Scott Allen, your host, and today I have Stephy Hogan. She is two-part designer, two parts developer, three parts perfectionist, and one-part impatient mother. She's a founding board member and vice president of the Presentation Guild Board of Directors is a design engineer by day runs her own business by net barely plays guitar, we need to explore that a little bit. I just started guitar and she loves glitter. And so I said to her as we were planning this conversation, guilds guitar glitter was good, but there's more G's. So once she drove through a tire fire on a golf cart at work when she was a chemist, now she enjoys making typically mundane experiences a lot more fun like sitting through an 80 slide benefits presentation. That sounds like a barnburner. Dealing with a really crappy website, or reading this bio is what's in her bio. That wasn't me saying that. That's what's in her bio. But guilds, guitar, glitter, and golf carts. What blanks do we need to add in there? Tell listeners about you?
Stephy Hogan 2:22
What blanks do we need to fill out? Oh my gosh, what else could there possibly be to know these so many weird things? Well, let's see. I never knew I had no idea was ever going to be going through tire fire. I never intended to be a presentation designer. The Guild just kind of came to me. Well, not I didn't invent it that came out wrong.
Scott Allen 2:47
So let's start there Stephy. Let's start with the Presentation Guild. Tell me about the founding of this organization. I like I was saying to you ahead of us recording, I had not heard of it. And so I want to learn more about the organization. And I know there are certifications I want to hear about those. Because I think it's a wonderful, wonderful service to be providing the community.
Stephy Hogan 3:11
Let me try and do the origin story justice. Okay. Because Echo Swinford, our first president, our founder, and you know, in every aspect, she usually tells a story that she had been, I think filling out, you know, that little profile thing when you sign up for Adobe Creative Cloud, and it says what field of what do you design in, you have to pick a design specialty. There's never a presentation design in there. It's never on the list on any product, any service, any social media, whatever, that even if it's a design specialty, and she just got completely fed up one day. I think it was probably knowing her one of those throw the mouse across the room moments. Go, ah, okay, fine. And she's like, we just have to form an association, you know, for presentation. people, the people who design it, build it, you know, the architects behind are presented.
Scott Allen 4:11
So primarily, it's not necessarily delivery and all of that type of stuff. This really is founded out of design. Is that accurate? It's
Stephy Hogan 4:20
It felt it was founded out of that. And knowing that, you know, we have delivery kind of things when we think of presentations and delivery, you know, there's Toastmasters and, and TED talks and you know, Pecha Kucha, however, he said that I had to bounce when I say that. There was really never anything for the presentation designers and now we really want to focus. I mean, we want to make sure we include everybody that's part of the creation of a presentation. So that would be anybody who speaks rights coaches, designs, we got a lot of designers strategy native is that anything that goes into it because it's really a whole theatrical experience, isn't it? A lot of parts.
Scott Allen 5:05
If you're doing it well there are so many different parts. Right? Talk a little bit about that. What are the different parts that you see, when you even look at the beginning of an ad slide, benefits presentation,
Stephy Hogan 5:17
I will tell you exactly what I see, when someone throws down a deck like that in front of me, I see the people sitting in the room, looking at their phones, half asleep, really wishing they weren't there. You know, that's, that's what I see. I'm like, Oh, god, yes. What are you doing to these people? So it's about making that experience better. It's kind of like a presentation experience design, you merge those two fields together? So then how do you go about doing that? You don't want to bore the user? So what do they need to know? You know, that's where you come in with those questions. Who are who's my audience? And why should they care? And then how do you write towards that? How do you structure your content towards that? And designs last designs always last? And it should be?
Scott Allen 6:05
Well, that's a really interesting perspective, that design is last, right? I mean, I think some people open up the PowerPoint and start putting stuff in. And the design is last. I love that. That's a really cool way of saying it.
Stephy Hogan 6:18
I think that a lot of presentation designers, especially the ones who are have been doing it for a long time and who are really good at their craft would completely agree with it too, because they would rather have a well written, well structured, well-edited, presentation come to them so that they can make it shine. A lot of the time the designers are tasked with a lot of that work as well. So they have to suggest the edits, they have to suggest the structure. And if they aren't listened to sometimes they are, but it's a challenging job.
Scott Allen 6:52
Talk a little bit about the Guild and some of the work that it's doing around certifications and just other opportunities and benefits for members. After speaking with Tony Ramos, I joined. And I was excited to be a part of this community and learn.
Stephy Hogan 7:07
Yes, what is just so awesome. A couple of things we'll start with, we'll do certifications. Second, when you join as the Guild, our whole purpose is to make give everyone a sense of community to go oh my gosh, there are other people out there like me who do this weird job that no one else seems to want to do you know, that kind of, thank goodness, I found, I found the people. You know, we want everybody to come in and feel that way and then just start in conversations. And there's a huge when you come into the Guild you instantly I think a lot of people get into the conversation. So I'm not the only one people do that to you too. And then we get through it into the Okay, their standards. So one of the things that we have wanted to establish for a long time, I think individually before we were a group were industry standards for presentation design. Because there are standards for regular design, you know, and their standards for writing and things like that. But when you get into drafting a presentation, it's the Wild West out there. And there's no way to figure out who, when people say I'm comfortable using PowerPoint, are you? Are you really?
Scott Allen 8:24
Are you really are you really? Let's find out Oh,
Stephy Hogan 8:31
I know, let's see how this was formatted, created, built whatever, we had to have a level starting ground. So what the Guild did was come up with nine areas to standardize for presentations. And we have, you know, you go on our website, and in our resources and our certification section, there's a downloadable, that's presentation standards, which is great. And then we have a study guide that goes that explains them a little further, also helps you with the certifications. And then the goal is, of course, to have a way to prove that you do know what you're talking about. With design, it helps set expectations in the industry. There are so many people who don't know what it means what skills people should have if they say they're good at presentations, kind of like a take your word for it kind of thing, right? So this sets that expectation. I expect these people to have disabilities, and then come to the get old and take the certification exam and prove that you do in fact, have that ability. This is great because then I mean, it comes with all kinds of little bells and little geeky bells and whistles. You have, it used to be called "Claim" and now it's called "Credly. " So you have a verifiable badge you can share in social media, you can put it in your email signature website and potential employers or your current one can double-check to make sure you really do know what you're talking about that you have that certification, which is really nice. Gosh, it shows up in your profile and the Guild. See, actually what was really cool is one of our first certified members used the industry standards. And we also put out an industry state of the industry report. every couple of years, she was that and got her certification and was able to get a large bump in her salary. So it really did work. It works. There's proof!
Scott Allen 10:34
Definitely, that's awesome. And there's two are two different certifications you can get ? Are there two levels?
Stephy Hogan 10:40
Overall, there are three, the first level is the certified presentation specialist, which is out now has been for almost two years now, the expert level that is the second level that launches this fall, the exams, and stuff. And we do have the first boot camp for that happening at the Presentation Summit in September. And then there will be an expert level for that probably sometime next year. I
Scott Allen 11:07
think that's really cool, though, that you will see even beyond, can you see even beyond master.
Stephy Hogan 11:13
Let's see. So for these three, they specialize in PowerPoint proficiency. Now we do plan on expanding beyond that. So beyond the master level of the PowerPoint certification would be just having other certifications for other software's or Prezi is getting even better. I used to avoid Prezi a lot, but now they're doing some fantastic things. A lot has changed in the past few years with Prezi.
Scott Allen 11:44
You know, the Rich Mulholland has used Prezi masterfully, right.
Stephy Hogan 11:49
Yes, Rich is amazing. First of all, I love, his presenting style. I love his speaking style. And when I watch his videos and knowing he does all of that in Prezi video, I'm like, okay, fine, I need to go get a Prezi account and actually start playing with it. Because there are some really cool things.
Scott Allen 12:08
I did the same thing. I did the exact same thing after watching him. I think it was a couple. It was a session he did for zoom. And then maybe it was a session he did for Prezi. I thought wow, I need to go kind of re-explore this software. Another one I've seen, at least a lot of my students using is Canva. A lot of Canva
Stephy Hogan 12:28
we can't get in commercials for Canva every time I watch TV now. I feel like the world is saying maybe you should go check it out stuff. You are in the presentation Guild. This is a hint from the universe.
Scott Allen 12:43
Okay, so I want to talk about how I want to talk about the Presentation Summit because that's coming up listeners could even choose to sign up and had to head down to Florida, or I know that there's also a virtual online version of the conference, would you talk a little bit about the Presentation Summit and its relationship to the Guild.
Stephy Hogan 13:02
Presentation Summit is fantastic. It is literally I mean, it launched my career. It is a small conference that is dedicated to presentation professionals. It does most of the technical workshops are in power for PowerPoint, because that's just the industry leader in presentation software. But they talk about speaking delivery methods and design and technical backstage kind of things. And some of the most brilliant people in the industry. All of the industry leaders go there once who's been there to every single Summit. They have every time you go you get a little star on your name tag. Okay, so there are people who have all the way across the bottom like, okay, you must know a lot. It's, it's what's really special about it is that the in-person attendance is capped at 200. Okay, which means it's not one of those massive ones where you get lost, and you're just another person there. And everyone there is incredibly friendly and inclusive and pulls you into conversations, even though it's your first time. That's what happened to me. I didn't know what I was getting myself into. And now they're all my best friends.
Scott Allen 14:18
Just because you don't have 15 stars doesn't mean they
Stephy Hogan 14:21
First-timers should be expecting to be adopted into a circle of friends almost immediately. It's really a great place to go and to learn. And just to feel part of the community. Now, that is the Presentation Summit. So in 2015, a lot of the people have been having been speaking and teaching at the Summit for many, many years. Were the ones who got together and decided, Okay, we need to form the Guild. So it spawned from all of the attendees of the Summit. And then we made our own thing. So they're completely separate entities but they're We're very closely related because we kind of we all met there we all met at the Summit bonded and, you know recognized how important presentation creation design and stuff really is. We wanted that feeling to carry on throughout the year, not just at the Summit every year.
Scott Allen 15:16
It sounds like the Summit was a launching pad for the Guild, they build all these relationships. And then there are some people with kind of a common vision of Look, here's, here's probably the next logical step for where we go. Do we have standards? Do we have certifications so that we're building an industry that has standards and certification?
Stephy Hogan 15:42
We're elevating the industry into a respected, design specialty,
Scott Allen 15:48
I love it. Okay, a couple of things before we kind of close down for our time today, I just have a few questions for you about design, are there pieces of advice that you could give listeners, I know...I loved how you phrase, you know, design should be last? But are there other things that you see in your work that you just wish people knew, or that are best practices that time and time again, you're coming back to that listener should be aware of?
Stephy Hogan 16:19
Yes, there are a few of them, I think the first one that just popped into my head was how many slides should a presentation include? I don't want it to be an 80 slide presentation, you know, deck for the benefits people, then let's put it down to 10. But we're going to put everything on those tech fives, right. So the number of the big thing to remember is really the number of slides doesn't matter. It doesn't matter at all, you know, slides are free, it's a digital medium. And if it's going to be a takeaway, you usually make a PDF of it and send it out. There are ways to make a better-printed piece, right? You can do so much with PowerPoint. Okay, so slide count doesn't matter. Okay. Any words on the slide count? That Matters big? Okay, it's not, it's not just the how many words you put on a slide. It's consistency, I'll say more. When it comes down to it, you know, sometimes I have a project to do I have a deck, and I don't have the time my deadline is super, super short. I don't have time to make it glorious. And, and this beautiful, whitespace-filled thing for my eyes to be so happy over consistency, where the words are on screen. So the minimum we have hardly any time you want to go through and make sure everything is lined up within the template, you can reset the slides, you know, just to get everything back to where it's supposed to be. Because if you have your title on one, slide two pixels off from the title and next slide and then another pixel off from the title on the next slide that jumps as you go through and it's really distracting. So just go through the first step, just clean it up, just do the first initial cleanup and make it consistent. It's not by design, but it's a little bit less cognitive load on the audience,
Scott Allen 18:11
and talk a little bit more about tech.
Stephy Hogan 18:13
Yes, fairly consistent. So your body copy on one slide should be the same size and line heights as the body copy on and on the next slide. If it's 16 point here, make it 16 point here don't make people squint when they look at it. Also, it goes to accessibility. Now, this is number three, number huge one. Also, it goes to accessibility. Now this is number three, number huge one. I'm a huge accessibility advocate. I say accessibility, "is it compliant?" until I'm blue in the face. I get tired of me saying it. So to be fair, to all of our friends who don't see or hear the way we see or hear, right, colorblind, folks, you have to be aware of the colors you're using. Make sure that your text isn't too light against the white slide so that the contrast is high enough so everyone can read it. Don't go putting red text on a green background, just that kind of thing. There are lots of tools online that you can check color contrasts on and color contrast is the biggest and easiest thing you can check throughout your whole entire presentation to make sure that you know people with any of the colorblind
Scott Allen 19:22
Stephy, I've never thought of a colorblind participant, but you're it's I mean, it makes perfect sense!
Stephy Hogan 19:32
sensiblecolors.com. I use it all of the time to check the color value of my text against whatever color it's laying on top of it will tell you whether that is good to go awesome. Use that color combination or it doesn't work. Some people won't be able to read this. And then it will suggest an alternative color to use, which is extremely handy. Awesome.
Scott Allen 19:55
I'll put that in the show notes for sure. But I have to imagine you're just seeing people having cutting paste all kinds of stuff and just throw it back and just do you use slash text to you try and kill as much text as you can you know what I do? And I don't
Stephy Hogan 20:12
ask permission anymore. When I was new, I was terrified about overstepping my bounds, but I cut the text and I stick it in the note sections, or I put it off the slide so we don't lose it. And then I suggest maybe we should have your words like this with a lot less text. Just don't overtax your audience's brains. What really...
Scott Allen 20:38
I oftentimes will kind of, I'll show a slide that has all kinds of text on it. And I often use the analogy that this is like an overgrown shrubbery. There's something good in there. There's like a flamingo or something cool, but we can't see it. And then if you can just kill combined words, like we can say probably what you said here and four words with one in order to just to, then, you know, all of a sudden, a message emerges. But it's lost in those initial versions, right? And it's such a great analogy and overgrown shrubbery. And oh, you're gonna push me into quoting Monty Python. You have a nice little path. Raja. Sometimes in my presentations, I will actually go there.
Stephy Hogan 21:43
Well, you know, you have to have a sense of humor. But you're working in other people, especially if you're working in other people's presentations all the time. You have to have a sense of humor, along with the confidence to suggest alternatives.
Scott Allen 22:00
Yes. Oh, that's wonderful. Are there resources that you can point to other than the Presentation Guild and Presentation Summit? I'll put all of that information in the show notes. Are there other resources that you found really helpful and beneficial in your work?
Stephy Hogan 22:14
So those are some wonderful podcasts besides your own...Presentation Podcast...Which is awesome. And then I think 365 Labs has a great one as well. There are so many more presentation podcasts nowadays. I am just so happy. It's amazing. watching them grow and go. Oh, and then there's another conference. There's not just you know, the Presentation Summit. Our friend Boris started one this past summer is it all online?
Scott Allen 22:48
Well, he's in Europe, correct?
Stephy Hogan 22:51
And it actually runs a little later, you know, not really in our time zones, at least this past year. So it was a little challenging for me to pop in,. But the quality of the content was phenomenal. read up on anything about accessibility, digital accessibility with cags standards, it's WCAG 2.0 standards. It's for digital stuff. It says website all over it, but at least 50% of the guidelines in there would apply to presentations.
Scott Allen 23:20
Okay. That's great. That's a great, great lead. Because, again, that's an area that I know very little about. And a topic that what Stephy emerged maybe in the last year and a half, two years or in the industry has been around much longer.
Stephy Hogan 23:35
In general in the industry. It's been around for quite a while, I'd say about 2015 or 16. Lawsuits picked up like crazy. They started the curve just started going up with regards to 508 compliance. Wow. Now in the United States, there are fines you can get up to I, if I remember correctly, $150,000 her each individual violation. Wow. That was research from a couple of years ago. I'm not sure if it's still that it could be higher now. And in five-way compliance is required. If you have government contracts, who are doing anything with the government, it's really important to actually read up on it because people don't think accessibility presentations they think websites and apps.
Scott Allen 24:24
Well, I was designing an online course last spring through an organization called Quality Matters. And it was very, very important to quality matters. Any image was tagged and described so that the readers could capture and pick up what and that learner had equal opportunity to the information, right.
Stephy Hogan 24:46
And it's, it's not about having the exact same experience for everybody. It's about having an equally good experience. For everybody. And we can totally do it
Scott Allen 24:58
for sure. So if we listeners are interested in getting to Florida, September 26 to 29th. And you're standing at the reception and you have 14 stars, they can come up and say hello.
Stephy Hogan 25:11
Yes! They can, they can come up and say hi to anybody but I will find you you want to you know, come to the Guild or you can, you know, find me online. LinkedIn, I'm Steffi, Hogan everywhere LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, all that kind of stuff. Send me a message and say I am coming to the Summit. Awesome. And I will find you.
Scott Allen 25:31
I will put all of that information in the show notes. And Stephanie, thank you so much for your time today. Thank you for helping us learn and thank you for the good work that you do. Well, thanks for having me. This was fun. Yes. golf carts, glitter guitar, we didn't get to guitar. What do you What kind of music do you play? Well, okay, I'm
Stephy Hogan 25:50
just a student. I'm learning they just started last fall. And I already have way too many guitars more than I should have for the level I'm at. I prefer acoustic and I love listening to Spanish guitar. Someday I would like to be able to play Spanish guitar. But right now I'm learning jazz and I'm flavors of jazz. It's hard. It's hard. Jazz chords are hard. Oh,
Scott Allen 26:15
You're contorting your fingers in ways they haven't been converted. And I've sacrificed all of my fingernails for this hobby. well below, have an awesome rest of your summer. And we hope to see you in September.
Stephy Hogan 26:30
Yes, yes. I'll see you in the Guild.
Scott Allen 26:33
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