A Different Way To Do Presentations: Prezi

by drjim on September 13, 2016

Prezi is a new way of making presentations

Prezi is a new way of making presentations
Image Credit: Pearson K-12 Technology

Every presentation that we give is an opportunity for us to use the importance of public speaking tocapture our audience’s imagination and get them to believe in whatever we are telling them about. However, making this happen seems to becoming harder and harder. I’m not sure why, but the arrival of cell phones with big screens and always-on applications sure isn’t helping things. Maybe we need to change how we go about making our presentations?

Say Hello To Prezi

One of the disadvantages of how we go about making our presentations is that, from a distance, they all appear to be the same. We take the stage, turn on the projector, and then proceed to step through our PowerPoint or Keynote set of slides. Our audience has seen this a hundred times already and can we really blame them for not being all that interested in what we have to say?

What would happen if you didn’t use PowerPoint? Yes, using visuals can be an important part of any presentation, but it doesn’t have to be PowerPoint. There is a new presentation tool that is gaining popularity called Prezi. Prezi is an online tool that allows you to create presentations. What makes these presentations different from the ones that you create in PowerPoint is that Prezi gives you what they call a “zoomable canvas” that is designed to allow you to explore ideas and the connections between them.

What Prezi is very good at is showing ideas, connections, and the big picture. Because Prezi gives you a canvas to work with, it allows you to zoom out and show your audience the big picture of the idea that you are presenting. You can then zoom in on various parts of what you’ve shown them and provide them with more details. When you use PowerPoint, you advance from slide to slide and each one looks the same. In Prezi you control what the audience is looking at and you can zoom out or zoom in at will.

Prezi Is Not The Right Choice In All Situations

If you ever get a chance to see a presentation that uses Prezi, I highly recommend that you do. A number of TED presenters have used Prezi as a part of their presentation. A great one is called “The Mathematics Of Love”. As cool as Prezi is, it may not be the right choice for all of your presentations. Let’s see if we can figure out where the right place to use this tool is.

Prezi can be a challenge to use right off the bat because it is a new technology. What this means for you is that if you’ve never used it before and you don’t have a lot of time before your presentation then Prezi is probably not going to be the right solution for you. One of Prezi’s biggest features is that it allows you to zoom in on a part of your canvas. However, it turns out that if you are not careful this zooming can cause members of your audience to become disoriented and feel sick. Once again this is a Prezi experience thing. Zoom to a location and then stay there long enough for your audience to get used to it before you move on.

You are going to have to understand your audience in order to determine if they are a good candidate for a Prezi presentation. If they like to take lots of notes while you talk, they are not going to be set up for a Prezi presentation. It is not easy to create a Prezi handout because so much of what you want to convey has to do with the zoomining in and out. Finally, if you want to keep the Prezi presentation that you create private, then you are going to have to subscribe to the Prezi service. If you don’t then you can use the free service, but all of your presentations will become available to anyone who wants to take a look at them.

What All Of This Means For You

In order to make the effort of creating and delivering a speech pay off, we need to be able to capture and hold our audience’s attention in order to allow them to experience the benefits of public speaking. However, this seems to be getting harder and harder to do. Cell phones provide our audience with an easy way to become distracted and because every presenter uses either PowerPoint or Keynote our presentations are all starting to look the same. What can we do to recapture our audience’s attention?

A new presentation tool has arrived on the scene: Prezi. This tool takes the place of PowerPoint and Keynote. It differs from this tool by how it presents information. The user, you, has a canvas with which to create your entire presentation. During your presentation you can zoom out to show the whole picture or you can zoom in to show details of how things work. Prezi is not for every presentation. It does have a learning curve and so you need to have time to get ready for a presentation that you’ll be using Prezi in. Additionally, you can disorient your audience and creating handouts can be a challenge.

New things can be scary to all of us. However, Prezi opens some new and interesting possibilities for all of us. When we are faced with a jaded audience that has “been there, seen that”, introducing Prezi into our presentation can shake things up and cause them to sit up and watch more closely. Take the time to check Prezi out and determine if it might be just what you need to both capture and hold your next audience’s attention.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™

Question For You: Do you think that you need to worry about having an Internet connection during your speech if you are going to use Prezi?

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Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site www.Toastmasters.org. Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Remember the old days? Those were the days when we’d write a speech, travel to where we were going to be giving it, wait for our time to talk, get up on stage and deliver our speech, and then drive home? Well, welcome to the 21st Century. Now that so much can be done online, we no longer have to drive anywhere – your next speech could be delivered online. The importance of public speaking has never been greater. However, this is a brave new world – do you know how to be a leader in this space?

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Kate Hansen October 7, 2016 at 2:56 pm

When I was in school, we all did our presentations in class with powerpoints. I had never heard of prezi, but it sounds like are a lot more interesting! I especially like how you mention that they have a “zoomable canvas”. I bet professors that use this in their lectures have students that do better in their class since they probably pay attention more. I’ll have to check out prezi and see if I can use it!

Reply

drjim October 10, 2016 at 9:13 pm

Kate: Do go ahead and check it out. I believe that there are a number of videos available on the web that show a Prezi presentation in action — it will probably knock your socks off!

Reply

Susy March 9, 2017 at 7:15 am

Basically, the software will see anything inside arrow brackets as an inrsutction of some kind, rather than text to be displayed. I’ll write a gratuitous insult below in arrow brackets, and I bet you don’t get offended at all:

Reply

drjim March 10, 2017 at 12:30 pm

Susy: Well, ok, so I’m offended just a bit but that’s probably ok…

Reply

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