Heated debates have emerged regarding the advantages and disadvantages of Prezi and PowerPoint. Both programs are useful in their own ways and arguably, it is all a matter of preference. You might say the arguments are beating a dead horse at this point, much like two old men arguing over the weather or women. I will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each, though, at the end, the preference will be left up to the reader. Presentation style can be a game changer in many scenarios. Throughout history, a charismatic speaker most often bore the weight. Not that much has changed, even with the invention of presentation software. Arguably, nothing has changed, save for the change from poster boards and cutouts evolving into televisions and computers. The only real difference is it is not necessary to be an artist in order to deliver a successful message, however, all that was changed in 1987 when Presenter was unleashed on the world. Microsoft PowerPoint emerged under the name “Presenter” as the only presentation software available in 1987. However, due to trademark issues, Presenter was later named PowerPoint [ (Hewitt, 2009) ].
In the last 23 years, PowerPoint has proven itself useful in many ways, although, it has its benefits and is not without flaws. When preparing a PowerPoint presentation, the advantages include flexibility, creativity and ease. Additionally, an instructor can utilize the program to streamline a complex message and deliver it to a large audience with ease. A major disadvantage encountered when preparing a PowerPoint presentation is a lack of skill. Although most individuals do not find the program difficult to use, it still requires a certain level of comprehension and technical “know-how” to effectively create an attractive presentation. Individuals with little or no computer experience may find it difficult to use. Moreover, to deliver a successful message, the presentation must be without error prior to delivery. While PowerPoint is user friendly, it is not forgiving during a presentation. To correct an error, the user must exit the presentation to edit; this is a rather embarrassing experience. Additionally, PowerPoint does not offer all the same auto-correct options that Microsoft Word does. Therefore, attention to detail is a requirement when building a slideshow (Sheehan, 2012).
PowerPoint has had a pseudo-monopoly on the market in the way of presenting material in an attractive and entertaining way. That was until Prezi came to the business presentation market in 2009. Prezi was developed to fill the void of a much-needed alternative to the everyday PowerPoint presentation. The new, freer flowing, less linear presentation platform excited people significantly. For many, the standard, cheesy transitions available in PowerPoint limited the creativity of their presentations, which in turn had the potential to limit their careers. Prezi’s use of paths, where a free-moving “camera” follows a set of connected frames, instead of slides, makes every Prezi unique – one has almost infinite possibilities when deciding which direction, literally, he or she want to take the presentation. Prezi has its drawbacks though. For instance, Prezi, unlike PowerPoint, does not have spellchecker. This inconveniences those hurried executives who want to throw together a presentation without having to scan every word for a typo. In addition, up until recently, Prezi users were not able to insert new stops along the pathway easily.
When a user took a screenshot, Prezi sent the frame to the end of the presentation, requiring the user to drag the frame all the way back to the necessary position within the storyboard. Lastly, if the user abuses Prezi’s functionality, including the in-and-out zooming feature, audiences may become nauseated rather than captivated [ (Duggal, 2011) ]. Each program has benefits over one another and their shortcomings are arguable and quite simply, a matter of taste. Theme customization is simpler in PowerPoint, and audio/video can be included much more easily. Moreover, PowerPoint allows the user to add slides in a specific place effortlessly with the click of a button. All the while, Prezi has the ability to put the presentation in a 2.5D format and allows the user to select where the show goes manually. Both PowerPoint and Prezi are effective tools for communicating in a business forum.
Both, however, have the possibility of being abused and/or mismanaged. When deciding whether to use a Prezi or PowerPoint in your next presentation, take into a context the audience and their tastes. The first rule of thumb when delivering a message to an audience is to know the audience. Without that, the presenter cannot effectively deliver the message on any platform. We have already established that PowerPoint and Prezi both have their highlights and pitfalls. However, the decision is left to the individual utilizing said resource to determine the best delivery method.
Duggal, D. (2011, November 20). Prezi vs. PowerPoint: Which Will Come Out on Top? Retrieved from Managerial Communication: http://managerialcommunication.wordpress.com/2011/11/19/prezi-vs-powerpoint-which-will-come-out-on-top/ Hewitt, J. (2009, January 28). A Brief History of Microsoft Office. Retrieved from Bright Hub: http://www.brighthub.com/office/collaboration/articles/13193.aspx Sheehan, K. (2012, April 16). Disadvantages & Advantages of a Powerpoint Presentation. Retrieved from eHow Tech: http://www.ehow.com/list_5978836_disadvantages-advantages-powerpoint-presentation.html