PowerPoint kills, and not in a good way. It kills in a “Death by PowerPoint” way.
Of course, this is not the tool’s fault. It’s because the tool is so widely mis-used. People cram too much information onto a slide, they read the slides to you in a presentation, they add animation for the sake of it (which ends up detracting from the message rather than enhancing it), and most presentations simply go on for too long.
A new tool won’t help you break those bad habits. But if you’re committed to building better presentations and have found PowerPoint to be limiting, then you should look at this new tool, Prezi.
With Prezi, the whole screen is a canvas with (nearly) infinite space. The whole concept of “slides” is gone. And while that can be pretty intimidating, it can also be very freeing, allowing you to make more compelling presentations.
Here are 5 things you can do with Prezi to make better presentations.
1. Use a nonlinear format
A slide stack is presented in sequential order from beginning to end. That’s fine for a lot of things, but most big concepts are better presented in a nonlinear way. With the “big canvas” approach of Prezi, you can arrange ideas in whatever way makes sense. Using text, photos, or diagrams, you can show relationships of things to each other by their placement on the canvas. Now, when you show the big picture or move from one idea to the next, the relationship is clear and visible to the audience.
2. Emphasize points with zoom
Along with the ability to roam freely around the canvas, it is in Prezi’s nature to zoom in and out to focus on different ideas. This helps to emphasize your point, and it can also add new perspective to your presentations. Little details that are important can be shown in a dramatic way. You can zoom in on an area so far as to reveal something that was not readily visible in the big picture. It’s an attention grabber. Similarly, you can zoom out to show the idea you were just talking about in a larger context.
3. Add spin and perspective
Add some spin, literally. When presenting with Prezi, your whole presentation canvas can be spun around. This, along with zoom, can emphasize relationships and perspective on your ideas. You could arrange things in a big circle and have that arrangement revealed throughout the course of your presentation. Or you could simply flip the canvas upside down in the middle of your presentation to help emphasize a point.
4. Use text and photos together in new ways
With the zoom features, it’s easy to show new relationships between text and images. An attention-grabbing photo can fill the screen, then you can zoom in to one little area of the image to reveal text that makes your point in a dramatic way.
Similarly, text can be zoomed in on to reveal a hidden photo that crystalizes your message, or emphasizes a particular point. It’s a very dramatic and effective effect.
5. Add some novelty to your talk
Prezi is still new, though I’m seeing it used in more places as time goes on. When you first start presenting with it, it will capture your audience’s attention – not only the new way in which you will be able to convey your message, but also because it’s a new tool unlike any other. After each talk I’ve given with Prezi, at least 5 or 6 people come up to me to ask about the tool. And they tell me that it was so effective that they’d like to start using it.
Check out the 1-minute Prezi intro video below (click here if you can’t see the embedded video) to get a sense of what I’m talking about, then go over to prezi.com and check it out for yourself. It’s free.