What are Alternatives to PowerPoint?

Occasionally, someone will ask “What are the alternatives to PowerPoint”?

Yes, there are a lot of horrible PowerPoint presentations. But the answer is not to look for another presentation software to hide behind. The answer — and the only long-term answer — is better visual communication skills.

Looking for PowerPoint alternatives is usually a mistake. Here’s why:

1. Same challenges. Whether it’s Keynote, Prezi, SlideRocket or flip charts, the challenge is the same: how to sequence information, how to use the right mix of text and pictures, how to use graphic design professionally and how to synch it all with your spoken presentation. The challenge is exactly the same no matter what medium you use. And if you can’t do it with PowerPoint, you won’t be able to do it with the alternatives.

2. Wrong motivation. People are looking for alternatives only because they’re frustrated with PowerPoint, NOT because it will make them better presenters. Often, they’re drawn to novelty like zooming or cooler transitions. Really? You think zoom effects are going to turn your cruddy presentation into “I Have a Dream”?

3. PowerPoint is the easiest to work with. Love it or hate it, everyone already uses PowerPoint so you can email PowerPoint slides to others, you can upload them to SlideShare, if you carry your deck on a USB stick it’s likely you’ll be able to just plug it into the presenter’s computer and it will work. There are tons of video tutorials and books on how to use PowerPoint. You can’t say that about Prezi, Keynote or anything else.

It’s the 21st century, folks. The world is moving toward visual communications. It’s time to make visual communication skills training a priority in school and at work.

That’s the only alternative.

About the author: Bruce Gabrielle is author of Speaking PowerPoint: the new language of business, showing a 12-step method for creating clearer and more persuasive PowerPoint slides for boardroom presentations. Subscribe to this blog or join my LinkedIn group to get new posts sent to your inbox.

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