Frequently we hear the words “we need a business presentation – where do we start?”
This confusion partly arises because there are so many different ways to deliver presentations, and so many different ways to produce them.
Is a flash presentation preferred? Should a multimedia presentation be used? Should we stick to PowerPoint presentations? Who do we want our presentation to reach? What do we want to say? And who’s going to say it?
There three main presentation routes that businesses can use:
1 – Powerpoint
2 – Flash
3 – Multimedia
Let’s put each type of presentation under the microscope and determine their relative strengths and weaknesses.
You can also dig for more information on our sales presentations page
1 – Powerpoint Presentation
PowerPoint presentations’ great strengths are that they’re cheap, quick, and easy to win a result with.
Though, like anything else, if your PowerPoint presentation is produced professionally it’ll have far more audience impact, and therefore be far more effective for your business or organisation.
This is because you’re using pictures to tell your story, and not just words. So it makes sense to employ a professional designer who’ll be better able to select the pictures and images you need to communicate your message across more effectively.
Professional powerpoints are flexible. So they can be configured to auto-run. And they can be videoed (video-grabbed), edited and converted into flash video flv files to play your website.
Music, voiceover and video can also be added.
Typically a company will want different versions of their presentation:
> Autorun version with music and/or voiceover for playing in foyers or at exhibitions
> Clickthrough version for talking over during a business presentation.
> Shorter voiced version for streaming on your website.
Powerpoint has lots of additional plugins (for extra effects functions) and off-the-shelf template designs for sale at low cost, so for DIY it’s a winner, while in the hands of a professional designer the results can look even more impressive.
PowerPoint’s main limitation is that it’s template-based and therefore presentations are often repetitive to look at.
Business audiences are more likely to grow bored with a Powerpoint presentation because of its predictability. The phrase “death by powerpoint” wasn’t a chance remark!
So with a Powerpoint presentation, the content, the message has to be very persuasive, and rivet the audience in order to be effective.
2 – Flash Presentation
If the primary route for your presentation is the web then you need to consider flash.
A Flash presentation can:
> Tell a powerful, imaginative business or product story in a gripping pictorial, colourful way
> Significantly boost your credibility
> Play on almost any business PC, even if the PC is blocked from playing video online, eg, no YouTube is allowed.
And since flash was designed for the web, it runs very well on any website – whether viewed by Windows PC, Mac OSX or Linux.
The limitation with flash is that it’s mostly only suitable for short presentations, as the development costs of a long flash business presentation are usually unacceptably high.
This is because flash is complicated and unwieldy to use when developing long presentations. It takes an expert animator or designer.
A further problem is that flash, in the hands of an inexpert designer, often looks bad. It’s as though animation multiplies all the design weaknesses.
Often the results of amateur flash look pretty – but pointless. Sort of like the useless website wallpaper which you can see on many low budget websites.
This has the opposite effect of reducing rather than enhancing a business’s credibility.
In order to persuade effectively, flash presentations require careful planning, professional scripting and storyboarding, a full end-to-end business service.
3 – Multimedia Presentation
If you’re involved in high level major account presentations to big business or large organisations (government, local authorities, utilities, etc) then multimedia is the preferred route over flash and powerpoint, as a multimedia offers:
> Maximum credibility, equivalent to a corporate video or better
> Controllability and versatility like Powerpoint
> High impact audiovisual persuasion power
Typical business customer audiences for multimedia presentations include:
> Tender or contract presentations
> Capital or project services presentations
> Presentations to lobby government bodies
> Seminars where audience impact is paramount
> Any high value or major account presentation
A professionally designed business presentation, produced using multimedia software, and complete with animation, graphics, voiceover and music, can be visually and emotionally stunning, slide after slide.
Obviously this style of business presentation costs more than Powerpoint, but when the stakes are high, then multimedia is very effective and can deliver on every level.
Multimedia can be used:
> As a click-though in sales presentations
> As a talking brochure to give client champions who will lobby on your behalf to win their colleagues over for you.
> As a video stream on your website
> As an autoplay presentation for company foyers or business exhibitions
Multimedia presentation’s main limitation is the cost.
It takes a special skill set, and this skill set doesn’t come cheap. And multimedia business presentations aren’t always as flexible to amend as a Powerpoint.
Powerpoint, flash and multimedia presentations are the main routes open to businesses who need to deliver more effective messages, whether for overall business scope & capability productions, to win a tender / contract, or to visually explain products and services in a persuasive way.
1 – Powerpoint is flexible, can look good when professionally designed, and is cheap. Almost any business an afford it.
It’s downside is its repetitive look (death by powerpoint), so a presentation services company is an absolute must if you want clients to take you seriously.
2 – Flash excels when used direct from the web. Its animation can rivet audiences. And while it’s not so cheap, the fact that it’s likely to have a shorter runtime brings the price down.
3 – Multimedia does what flash and powerpoint can do, and usually does it better, eg, visually compelling slides able to persuade and impress business audiences.
The downside is cost.
Multimedia presentations cost thousands not hundreds. But if the deal is high value, then it can be worth it to have that extra edge over competitors.
Understanding which business presentation you need depends on all these factors. Hopefully one of these three routes to effective business presentation will help.