Ask five business professionals what an online presentation is, and you may well get five different answers. That’s because online presentations are exploding into the online world with an exciting variety of tools and techniques.
An online presentation is a type of content that brings the traditional business presentation (typically Microsoft PowerPoint) to an anytime, anywhere environment online. Online presentations can take several different forms. In many online presentations, slides are just the start. You can add audio or video, web pages, images, forms, links, documents, transcripts, and social media feeds into a single interactive presentation viewer.
Types of Online Presentations
There are three types of online presentations in common use today:
- Online slide decks: These are the most widely used but least sophisticated online presentation medium. Essentially, online slide decks are simply PowerPoint presentations that have been uploaded to a website and placed in a simple viewer. The leader in this medium is SlideShare, which is essentially a “YouTube for Presentation Decks.” This platform, recently acquired by LinkedIn, is a simple way of uploading PowerPoint decks and making them discoverable by an audience of 60 million visitors per month.
- Narrated audio presentations: Adding synchronized audio narration to presentation slides represents a substantial step up in online presentation experience. It’s remarkable what a difference the speaker’s voice can make! The principal mode for most webinars is audio over slides. In fact, most narrated online presentations are simply recordings of webinars that were originally live events. Principal platforms for audio-narrated presentations are Brainshark and KnowledgeVision.
- Interactive video presentations: As engaging as audio-narrated presentations are, nothing compares to the total multimedia experience of the interactive video presentation. All the storyteller’s communication tools, from their facial expressions, their gestures, their props, and even their interactions with a live audience, are on full display in a video presentation. Video presentations are more visually interesting and engaging, and convey authority, expertise, and personal connection in a way that the “disembodied voice” of an audio-narrated presentation cannot. The most sophisticated platform for video presentations is KnowledgeVision.
Each type of online presentation has its strengths and benefits and, therefore, should be part of a content creation portfolio. The difference among the three types is in the richness of the media experience, the level of interactivity offered to the viewer, and the trackability and value of the data that’s generated every time a viewer interacts with the material.
Online Presentations vs. Online Meetings
Online presentations are often confused with online meetings, webinars, and webcasting. Online meetings and webinars are live interactions that are typically accomplished with screen-sharing software like GoToMeeting, WebEx or Google+ Hangouts, or a webcasting platform like ON24. Online meeting platforms typically connect a relatively small number of participants with both visual and audio tools. Unless they’re recorded, they can’t be viewed again. Live webcasting and webinar platforms can be closer in capability to online presentation tools, but tend to be less flexible when it comes to preserving these presentations for on-demand use.
The online presentations we cover in this website, on the other hand, are durable pieces of content that can be edited, revised, enhanced, updated, and accessed anytime, anywhere, and on-demand from a wide variety of desktop and mobile devices. They are a critical part of any comprehensive content program.