Business beyond powerpoint: The tech to win all pitches
By Julian Harlow | January 9, 2014
If you want to differentiate pitches to investors or clients, there are alternatives to PowerPoint that can make your presentation stand out.
Microsoft's PowerPoint software has been around for close to a quarter of a century now, and the program’s success has led to PowerPoint becoming shorthand for any sort of visual slide presentation. However, that success has also led to people becoming jaded with slide presentations.
If you are searching for ways to differentiate your pitch to investors or clients, there are alternatives to PowerPoint that can help make your presentation stand out. If you are already an expert at creating PowerPoint slide decks, pushing yourself to try an alternative program can give you a different perspective on how to make the most of the visuals that accompany your presentation.
One of the most prominent challengers to PowerPoint is Prezi. The most noticeable characteristic of Prezi presentations is the ability to zoom, pan and twist as you move between slides. Prezi says the animated moves allow presentations to more effectively show how slides and ideas are related to each other and to your presentation as a whole. Users can even import existing PowerPoint slide decks as the basis for a Prezi presentation, making it easy to see what can be achieved with the software.
However, the ease with which animations can be used creates the temptation to overuse them, which in turn can make a presentation more confusing or simply take attention away from the presenter and their message.
Haiku Deck takes a different approach by cutting presentation slides down to their essential elements - text and images. Focusing on these elements, Haiku Deck seeks to get the most out them and prevent one of the most common mistakes made by those creating presentations: including too much information on each slide. One of Haiku Deck's attractions is that it not only provides good-looking presentations, but makes them quickly and with minimal effort, allowing presenters to spend more time on more important aspects such as refining and practising your pitch.
A possible drawback to Haiku Deck is that by restricting options, all presentations can start to appear similar, having a look that has been compared to social media site Instagram. Whether this provides the level of professionalism you want your business to project is something to keep in mind.
Well-known presentations such as PowerPoint and Keynote are popular for good reason, despite criticisms. Phrases such as "PowerPoint Hell" tend to come from the misuse of these programs, rather than the functionality itself - a danger that is just as prominent for those deciding to use alternative programs. If you are already proficient in PowerPoint but want to shake up your presentations, you can instead look at the plethora of advice and tips available online to PowerPoint users.
No matter what visuals and sound you use to accompany your presentation, an effective pitch is still reliant on you as the presenter and the ideas you are presenting. If calamity strikes and you are unable to use any technology to back your presentation, you should still be able to speak confidently and give your audience a clear image of your ideas. Experimenting with alternative presentation software is most worthwhile if it helps you to reconsider just how you use the technology, and how it can be used to improve your pitches.