Time to revamp your webinar presentation? Here are three PowerPoint Alternatives

Feb 16, 2015
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Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

My friend (I’ll call her Susie) hosts a lot of webinars, about 10 each week. I was curious about it (since it’s pretty much all she ever talks about) so I joined one a couple of months ago. The next day she asked for my honest opinion of her webinar presentation. I took an awkward moment to figure how to tell Susie that her content (educational consulting) was interesting but her presentation (think black text on a beige background) may actually cure insomnia.

After yet another awkward moment, Susie thanked me for my honesty and then told me that her New Year’s resolution was to revamp her webinars. Thus began our quest to see what else was out there and how it would work as alternative to PowerPoint. During the next few weeks I helped her research options that would present her information in a more dynamic way and really engage her participants.

Chances are that out of all of the webinars you ran (or in which you participated) last year somewhere between 90-100% of them were PowerPoint based. No, I’m not psychic- but I do see a lot of webinars.

There are certainly many reasons to use PowerPoint for your presentations:

It’s easy to use. It provides you with enough options so that no matter what your topic is, you’ll be able to customize your presentation to suit your needs.

Most of the world is familiar with it. No matter where your co-presenters are, chances are that they are at least slightly familiar with PowerPoint.

It’s compatible across operating platforms. It doesn’t matter where you stand in the Mac VS. PC battle, PowerPoint can be used with either and that’s a big plus.

However there are alternatives out there that can really make your webinar more engaging and interactive. Here are my top three (in no particular order).

PowToon (www.PowToon.com): This is probably the most unique of the three I’ll review today. PowToon provides you with animated graphics (you provide the audio) that allow you to create your own highly personalized presentation. The upside of PowToon is that it will grab and keep your participant’s attention; the downside is that with so many options, creating your presentation can be an arduous process.

Prezi (www.Prezi.com): Prezi is kind of like PowerPoint on steroids. It may be more comfortable for those who are used to working with PowerPoint, however it allows you to do so much more. One of the biggest benefits to using Prezi is its use for nonlinear presentations. If the information you need to share doesn’t lend itself to the “A, then B, then C” type of format, Prezi may be a good choice for you. Rotate and zoom, then pan out- in any order you chose. Another upside is that Prezi is cloud based which allows you collaborate with coworkers around the world- in real time. The only potential downsides are that you need an internet connection to create and the zooming and rotating can be distracting to participants.

Keynote (https://www.apple.com/mac/keynote): Keynote and PowerPoint have very similar interfaces and functionality. The tabs and buttons have different names but they essentially perform the same jobs. They upside to Keynote is that it’s got the Apple “look”- the layouts, graphics and transitions are aesthetically pleasing. It’s far more graceful than PowerPoint. However, Keynote doesn’t integrate well with other programs. Technically you’re able to transfer Keynote files to PowerPoint but the animations and graphics will likely not function properly and with most of the world still more familiar with PC’s than with Mac’s this could be a significant problem.

The true takeaway is to know your options but also know their drawbacks. One of these PowerPoint alternatives may work in one situation but not in another. Take a look at the sites and see what clicks with you. Wouldn’t it be nice to do something different this year?

Susie took the plunge and made the switch to a PowerPoint alternative and now gets loads of compliments about her webinars. I can only imagine what was being said about her presentations before (nothing good I’m sure). Take a look at the links I’ve included above.

If Susie can do it, you can do it.

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