Presentations provide a platform for people to share their message. Entrepreneurs, independent contractors, enterprise businesses, educators, and students can all benefit from presentations to learn, inform, sell, or persuade. Effective presentations will engage an audience with a clear message and call to action. Many businesses leverage presentation software to help them create visually appealing decks quicker, and more efficiently.
If you’re not clear what presentation software is, and how it can help your productivity, you’re in the right place.
Understanding presentation software
Presentation software is a type of computer application software that is designed to help users create digital presentations, or slide shows, to convey information in a more engaging way. Most presentation software will come fully equipped with tools and features for creating and editing digital slides that can include text, images, audio, video, charts, graphs, and other multimedia elements. Some key functionalities to look for in presentation software include slide creation and organization, formatting and design options, multimedia integrations, animations and transitions, collaboration, and sharing capabilities.
Key features and functionalities
When you’re comparing different types of presentation software, these are the key features and functions that you should look for.
Slide creation and organization
It goes without saying, but the number one functionality of presentation software is slide creation. Whether you’re starting from scratch, or using a pre-built presentation or slide template, presentation software allows you to structure your thoughts in a way that makes sense. It also acts as a repository for old and new presentations so you can easily save and find what you need, when you need it.
Formatting and design options
One of the biggest challenges in the presentation creation process is deciding how to format your content without making a mess of the design. Many presentation softwares will handle that for you by offering design guardrails, drag-and-drop templates, and smart recommendations. The benefit of formatting and design options is that even non-designers have the tools they need to create something professional and on-brand.
A presentation without visual assets is a lot more likely to lose the audience. Presentation softwares will offer multimedia integration with images, videos, icons, and gifs. Every presentation software allows you to upload your own multimedia to your deck, but only select programs offer a free stock library to choose from.
Animations and transitions
The average attention span of humans is 8 seconds, which means an engaging deck is critical to your presentation. Presentation software makes it easier to hold the focus of your audience with animations and transitions. Many platforms offer features that allow you to choose the speed and transitions to which your content builds and progresses to the next slide.
Collaboration and sharing capabilities
The whole goal of presentation software is to make the design process more efficient, and a big part of that is collaborating with your team. Newer presentation software— especially web-based or SaaS presentations— will allow teams to work together on the same deck, under the same roof. Similarly, the same web platforms have more flexible sharing capabilities through shared links or embed codes.
Types of presentation software platforms
There are various types of presentation software platforms available, and the industry continues to expand and evolve with new technologies.
Traditional software refers to computer applications or programs that are typically used to create and deliver visual presentations. These programs are designed to allow users to create slideshows containing text, images, charts, graphs, and other visual aids.
Web-based or SaaS presentation
Web-based or SaaS (Software as a Service) presentation software refers to programs that are accessed through a web browser and do not need to be installed on a user's device. These programs are hosted on the cloud and can be accessed from any internet-connected device.
AI presentation software is a type of presentation software that uses artificial intelligence (AI) technology to help users create and design presentations. AI presentation software typically includes features such as automated design suggestions, layout recommendations and image recognition to streamline the presentation creation process.
Video presentation software is a type of software that allows users to create and deliver video presentations. These presentations can include a combination of video footage, images, text, and audio. Video presentation software typically includes features such as editing tools, visual effects, and transitions to help users create engaging and professional-looking presentations.
A nonlinear presentation is a type of presentation where the viewer can navigate the content in a non-sequential order, rather than proceeding from one slide to the next in a linear fashion. In a nonlinear presentation, the content is organized using hyperlinks or other interactive elements that allow the viewer to jump back and forth between different parts of the presentation, depending on their interests and needs.
To learn more about the differences between presentation software, visit The Ultimate Guide to Presentation Software.
Benefits of a dedicated presentation software platform
Using a specific presentation software for every business need helps teams stay consistent across all internal and client-facing decks.
Enhancing visual appeal and engagement
Presentation software— like Beautiful.ai— gives teams more control over the deck design which helps them maintain branding. By using the same presentation design software each time, you are ensuring consistency from deck to deck across each department.
Simplifying content creation and organization
Like any productivity tool, presentation software is all about simplifying the process. You’ve heard of rinse and repeat. By using the same platform for each company or team deck you can automate and recycle things like colors, fonts, logos, and even branded slides. On the same coin, if you’re creating every deck in the same platform, it acts as a library for all of your presentations, making it easy to organize and find existing content.
Facilitating effective communication
Communication is the backbone of any successful organization, so the ability to communicate effectively in the presentation design process is important. When the entire team is working in the same presentation software, it makes collaboration and communication more efficient and seamless. In Beautiful.ai, for example, teams can add comments and provide feedback in real-time to help eliminate any bottlenecks.
Enabling seamless sharing and collaboration
When you're working with a presentation software in the cloud, teams can simultaneously make edits or contributions to the same deck at the same time. Gone are the days of lengthy email chains sharing various revisions of the same deck. Presentation software allows you to share the most updated version and invite stakeholders or external partners to collaborate with you in the platform.
Tips for using presentation software effectively
Now you know what presentation software is, but how do you use it effectively to scale your business efforts? Keep these tips in mind for your next presentation.
Planning and structuring your presentation
Planning and structuring your presentation effectively is crucial for delivering a clear and organized message. You should think about how you want to format your story before you even open up a presentation software.
Six things to consider when planning your presentation anatomy;
- The audience
- Overarching message
- Clear objectives
- One key point for each slide
- The flow
- A strong call to action
Utilizing design principles and visual elements
Presentation softwares have design principles in place to help take on some of the burden of deck creation, and you should take advantage of that. Using a pre-built template can help you think of new ways to structure your presentation, while lending the ability to customize it where you see fit. As a good rule of thumb, less is more in presentations. Your design should be clean and professional, while keeping your company branding in mind.
Creating concise and impactful slides
With new technology, many presentation platforms (excluding PowerPoint) will actually limit how much you can add to each slide to help avoid Frankendeck situations. Creating clear, concise slides are more impactful than cluttered ones. Make sure to stick to one key point on each slide so that your audience knows exactly what you want them to pay attention to.
Using multimedia wisely
A picture is worth a thousand words. Your audience will likely remember the multimedia in your presentation over any bullet point or statistic, so choose your visual assets wisely. They should be relevant, high-quality, and on-brand, always. The multimedia is meant to complement your story and drive the point home.
Practicing and rehearsing
Presentation software and deck design is important, but so is your delivery. Don’t spend time crafting the perfect presentation deck only for your actual presentation of it to fall flat. Practice, practice, practice. And even when you think you’ve practiced enough, do a full dry-run one more time. This allows you to test the presentation software, the technology required for the meeting or conference, and the timing of any video or animations within the deck.