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Cloud-based Presentation Tools: Using SlideRocket or Prezi to Bling Your PowerPoint

An association client recently asked us to help liven up a presentation designed to introduce college students to its industry. The PowerPoint deck was not doing the trick with a young, easily distracted audience, so we were asked to sharpen the content, make the presentation more visually compelling and — most important — get some rousing videos in there between the stats and the pie charts.

Given that this meant we would be looking at a very large file, it was time for us to learn about cloud-based presentation services such as Prezi or SlideRocket.

From Large, Cumbersome Deck to Easy, Link-based Sharing (with Bling!) using SlideRocket

SlideRocket won out for this particular use case, not least because the large, image-heavy presentation we created in PowerPoint could be uploaded to the service very easily, without the need to start from scratch. Most everything translated beautifully; the few formatting glitches were easily ironed out.

From there, we created additional slide transitions using SlideRocket’s elegant, simple and intuitive tools. Video is easy to add, using files edited and stored on the desktop or from URLs. For many uses, the free version of SlideRocket will suffice — it lets you publish publicly and allow others to view the presentation or present it from a browser.

SlideRocket's presentation service was the right tool for the job

With a subscription of up to $240 per year per user, you can also run a presentation on a desktop, export it as a PPT or PDF, record audio and more. For our client, keeping the presentation private was a concern, as was being able to easily share the latest version with multiple users.

We can think of many uses, including presentations such as this example, event session slides, even a media kit. The ability to collaborate on changes and to know that the latest version of a presentation is available to any member of a team will make SlideRocket the right tool for many jobs.

Does Your Content Need to Be Totally Bling? Prezi Could Be for You.

We also considered using Wow — this “new world between whiteboards and slides” looks like a lot of fun. We were impressed with the idea behind Prezi’s “zoomable canvas,” and the “Zebra” — a tool that gives a layman the ability to tell a story by flying in, out and around the content, inserting video, photos and text.

In our simple test, though, creating smooth moves from one Prezi “path point” to the next proved too much. Indeed, the manual warns users to take care: “overdoing rotation can make audiences seasick.” (!!!)

We saw a steep learning curve ahead. Most important, we would have had to start from scratch, building a story for the tool, rather than easily converting the deck we had already built.

Let us know if you have found a perfect job for Prezi!

Our test predates the release of “Mastering Prezi for Business Presentations” by Russell Anderson-Williams, aka The Prezenter. Take a look at the teaser for the book, as it serves as a great intro what Prezi does — including the potential negatives. The Prezenter’s blog covers why “content needs bling” and how The Prezenter suggests you might “slowly introduce Prezi to the company without scaring the life out of those old fuddy duddies.” 

Using the right tool for the job is a Modern Media mantra. We’d love to hear from you if you have any tips about using either SlideRocket or Prezi – we’re sure we’ll continue to experiment with both in the future.