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How to Elevate Your Pitch or Presentation? Ascend to the Cloud!

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It seems that everything is going up ‘into the Cloud’ these days, even PowerPoint. But is there any alternative cloud-based presentation software for those who aren’t completely won over by the latest Microsoft 365? Of course there is, and Jose ‘Caya’ Cayasso, Slidebean’s CEO outlines three of the best and shows how he believes web-based technology has the advantage over installed software options.

For the vast majority of businesses and users, cloud-based presentation software is clearly superior to installed, on-site programs. Web-based programs allow users to create presentations on a myriad of operating systems and devices, work collaboratively with other presenters, and keep their content highly mobile. What’s more, cloud-based programs promote greater flexibility for fast-paced, evolving companies.

Even though it has worked to keep up with new presentation technology, many argue that PowerPoint has passed its prime. While it continues to be one of the most popular presentation programs, its prominence has been shrinking steadily as newer, easier to use and more creative programs come on the market. And for good reason: its staid presentation format, functionality issues, high learning curve, and overused slides make it more demanding and far less innovative.

Although PowerPoint has migrated to a cloud-based platform as part of the Microsoft 365 package, its slides and interfaces still retain that same ‘installed’ look. Some fairly awkward functionality concerns, including problems loading onto mobile interfaces, challenges importing larger files, and problems editing imported tables and graphs are forcing users to seek alternatives.

So what alternatives are there that use current and contemporary cloud-based technology to create sleek, sophisticated presentations and pitches? Let’s have a look:

Slidebean

Slidebean combines beautifully designed slides and an easy-to-use interface while harnessing some of the best elements of web-based presentation tools. Slidebean users can collaborate on presentations in real time, as all of the changes are synced automatically. Because the presentation is in the cloud, users can access content at any time, on any operating system, and multiple users can access the presentation simultaneously. If there’s no internet, it’s not a problem; presentations can be exported to PDF or PPT formats.

The interface is easy to use with a host of elegant design schemes. With Slidebean, users are able to input content and let the program position it in the best possible format. Users can embed videos, charts, and photos, popping their data and information into slides that are sleek and contemporary. At the same time, Slidebean is easily customizable, so a user can choose unique elements. Although it uses a myriad of presentation styles, flourishes, and add-ons, the program can fit seamlessly into any operating system or onto any device.

Because Slidebean has been specifically imagined with startup and VC businesses in mind, it has specific templates that are uniquely geared toward startup marketing. For example, it has a Pitch Deck template that crystallizes the most significant part of a company’s pitch (i.e., business plan, startup vision, etc.), and takes into account what a company would need for a successful pitch presentation. As an added bonus, Slidebean comes with a huge gallery of graphics, gifs, and charts that allow businesses to highlight significant information and deliver an engaging sales pitch.

(Sign up for Slidebean for free at Slidebean.com)

Prezi

Prezi is one of the oldest and most popular online presentation programs out there, and a strong alternative to PowerPoint for students and businesses alike. Prezi’s key attribute is its ability to create dynamic, fluid presentations that bring flair and excitement to the content. The program shifts from PowerPoint’s series of slides to make content energetic, with motion effects and great animations that bring dynamism to any presentation. It’s worth mentioning that the latest subscription-based Office 365 suite has added the Zoom function to PowerPoint to try to address this shortcoming however it is only available on the subscription version.

Prezi works great with a heavy load of images and multimedia, making it a productive choice for creative media outlets and has recently announced the launch of Prezi Next. The latest generation presentation platform is built on HTML5 technology and it will run alongside the existing Prezi – now called Prezi Classic.

Like the other cloud-based tools, Prezi allows online collaboration (important if users are working together as a team), can work on a myriad of web browsers, and is available on several kinds of devices. Prezi presentations can easily be edited on any device or browser, which is a plus for mobile creators who are members of online, collaborative teams.

Prezi works best for non-linear presentations, in which users need to jump back and forth between previous and current content. Presentations that are less continuous will benefit from Prezi’s clear establishing links and ties.

The major concern with Prezi is a tendency toward overuse of its flashy effects. While the movements between content areas can be useful, they can also be dizzying and distracting. The program requires a subtle eye and decent artistic sensibility so that viewers don’t get overwhelmed with all the bells and whistles. Prezi Next helps to address these issues though.

You can try Prezi for free at Prezi.com.

Google Slides

What’s key about Google Slides is its effective simplicity. One of the basic issues with PowerPoint is that it has too many gadgets that make creating presentations overly complicated. Google Slides’ sparse UI makes for simpler, more classic presentations. With Google Slides, it’s as if a user is adopting a cleaner, more simplified version of PowerPoint. Although slightly basic, Google Slides still has the ability to embed a business’s charts, graphs, images, videos, and many other kinds of media, and to do so fairly easily.

Google Slides is entirely integrated into G Suite and Google Drive, a cloud-based CRM that is made for the cloud and works seamlessly online. Because Drive is so commonly used by both professionals and casual users, Google Slides are easily shared from the Drive platform. Slides allows users to work on and present with many different devices, including phones and tablets.

Similar to Slidebean and Prezi, Slides’ online platform makes it easy to collaborate and share with others. It allows everyone working on the presentation to have a consistent view of the works. Slides makes it simple to publish on the web. Moreover, Slides’ Q&A, a new feature that allows presenters to interact with audiences, can allow audiences to vote on questions and presenters to gain feedback immediately. Google Slides also allows users to edit and present offline, and the program syncs when the user is reconnected to the web.

Sign up for your Google account here.

It’s clear that online, cloud-based presentation programs are the shape of things to come, as they allow for up-to-date designs, collaboration, and flexible mobility in ways that installed software simply cannot. While programs such as PowerPoint are making the switch from installed software to web-based programming, tools that are made explicitly for the web can exploit the cloud’s most productive features—and anticipate the challenges of web-based programs—more easily than converted programs. Whether companies are looking for a sleek marketing scheme for their vanguard business proposal, a creatively active presentation style, or a simple web-based platform, there is a myriad of new tools that take presentations to innovative and exciting new places.

Jose 'Caya' Cayasso

Jose 'Caya' Cayasso

CEO at Slidebean
2x startup founder. CEO of Slidebean. TEDx Speaker. @500Startups alum. 40-under-40 Costa Rican Innovator.
Jose 'Caya' Cayasso
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