Interview with PowerPoint MVP Ellen Finkelstein

Ellen Finkelstein webiste

What is your background and why did you decide to enter the presentation space?
I entered the world of presenting as an author, and it happened by accident. My contact at my editor asked me to write a teacher’s manual for a textbook on PowerPoint. It all started from there. Over the years, I’ve learned so much more by attending conferences, reading books, studying award-winning presentations, and working with my clients.

How did you become a PowerPoint MVP?
I met the other MVPs at that presentation conference and I think one of them recommended me. But mostly it was the fact that I’d been blogging for a long time. An important requirement to be an MVP is to freely give to the user/technical community and my blog does that. There are 13 of us in the United States now. Microsoft reviews our contributions each year.

As you’ve worked with your clients, what are some common issues you’ve seen?
Death by PowerPoint is rampant. But it’s more than that. Presenters have a hard time clearly visualizing their ideas. I see confusion in both content and design. When I work with clients, we reorganize, edit, add images, and reformat the slides.

What advice would you have for those looking to brush up on their presentation skills?
I work with presenters 1-on-1 to makeover their presentations. This is an unusual service; when we finish, they have a clear and powerful presentation and have also learned a lot about creating presentations. It’s a combination of a service and training. My clients have found this a very effective way to improve their skills.

What type of training courses do you offer? What elements make them effective?
I offer a number of video training courses on specific topics as well as a live weekly training program called Power Pointers Quarter Hour for people who really want to stay up to date on presentation and PowerPoint best practices. Everything I have is listed on my estore. I also offer customized training.

What’s uniquely effective about my training is that it applies specific PowerPoint and presentation techniques to essential communication principles. My goal is always to help presenters present clearly, powerfully, and persuasively.


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