Microsoft’s PowerPoint has long been the way to make slide presentations for training and marketing. Few small business owners can claim mastery of the program – although most of us hunt and peck our way towards more or less acceptable presentations.PowerPoint bundles with Microsoft Office, but there are options for those who don’t have the program, don’t want to pay for it, or don’t want to use an MS product.
First, consider how many presentations you make. There was a day when we couldn’t make enough slide shows, competed with each other for clever visuals and animation, and learned to track presentations with sound and time.
However, as new software makes videos easier to create, save, and incorporate into websites, webinars, and websites, we have lost some interest in slide presentations. Still, slide presentations are still a useful tool in your kit of marketing options. So, if – and only if – you have mastered PowerPoint and still feel the need for something more, consider these options:
- Prezi.com Prezi is a dream. Explore the handsome website to imagine what it can do for you. It produces slide shows that do not appear to be slide shows. Instead of sequential frames, Prezi enables a free-flowing moving picture experience. The potential is best experienced in large big-screen presentations where scripts are more visual and verbal. It is less useful for training where you may want and expect some passivity and static sequencing. The biggest negative is the price and the annual license renewal fee.
- Google Docs Presentation The thing I like is the ability to collaborate with others in real time. You can train and market by inviting others – customers, sales staff, or suppliers – to plan and create the presentation. It is free as is the Cloud storage. But, It lacks PowerPoint’s library of themes and colors. It has fewer transitions and animation schemes (which most people overuse anyhow). And, it does not import or export PowerPoint formats.
- SlideRocket.com SlideRocket is probably my favorite option, a first class platform that is available free (with some storage limits). I find it very intuitive and easy to navigate. It invites collaboration, imports and exports PowerPoint slideshows, and videos. And, it integrates easily with content from YouTube and Flickr. There is also a Pro upgrade for $24/month and custom pricing for larger corporate needs. You need to figure out if your usage and need warrants the cost, but this is a gold standard.
- 280 Slides.com The site presents a workspace very similar to PowerPoint in appearance, making it easy to navigate by anyone familiar with the Microsoft program. But, it allows you to upload existing presentations, so you don’t have to start from scratch. It includes autosave, integration with YouTube and Flickr, and ease in posting to SlideShare and running presentations from your browser.
Mac’s Keynote, Zoho Show, and Spresent, all have striking tools and additional options. You need to determine how many presentations you do with what frequency. You need to assess just how much you can bring to these programs in terms of your creative skills and computer savvy. And, considering how mis-steps can affect the professional appearance of your work, you may want to pay a pro to bring these tools all together for you.
by Steven Schlagel