Presentations can be tortuous. In the worst situations, it’s as miserable for the presenter as it is for the audience. Individuals in virtually every industry sector have been asked to present an idea or project to a group of people at some point in their lives. Unfortunately, for most people, presentations become a chore that often results in a menial progression of 30-50 exhaustive PowerPoint slides rife with ancient clip art, garish starbursts and bulleted lists.
Perhaps you’re saying to yourself, “…but I’ve always used PowerPoint to present my presentations to clients!” Yes, I’m sure you probably have…you and everyone else, and therein lies the problem. PowerPoint has become the go-to tool for slapping together presentations – and most people seem to accept this as fact. The vast majority are satisfied with their precious software and not at all interested in learning how to use a new program. Chances are you’re not impressing your clients that much with your master slide templates and outdated slide transitions (“Checkerboard Across” and “”Blinds Vertical” were maybe cool in 2007, it’s 2013 – let it go). PowerPoint, since it’s commercial debut in 1990 has always been a very static vessel for presenting information in a linear progression. And honestly, while the software has greatly improved there hasn’t been any truly ground-breaking developments or advances in the product. Surely, there’s a better way right?
Yup, there sure is. Prezi is a software and storytelling tool for presenting ideas on a virtual canvas. Employing a Zooming User Interface (ZUI) that allows users to zoom in and out of the presentation, Prezi enables users to navigate through information within a 2.5D or parallax 3D space on the Z-axis. While the software is not exactly new (it has been available to the public since 2009) Prezi has recently been getting a lot of attention and it’s worth a look.
First off, Prezi is much more fluid and dynamic than a rigid PowerPoint. There is no “slide size” and therefore no limitations to the amount of content you can add to a Prezi frame. And speaking of content, it incredibly simple to add pictures or embed videos.
With PowerPoint slides, your audience is forced to think inside the box, slide after slide ad nauseam – losing the big picture of your presentation. Prezi changes that by giving you the ability to create zooming presentations, zooming out to see the big picture of how each of your ideas are related, and zooming in to see the details. After all, connecting your ideas to one another and reinforcing a main point is usually the entire objective of a presentation anyway. People remember experiences, not slides. Engage your audience with a dynamic, multi-dimensional story that’s hard to forget.
Think of Prezi as a giant whiteboard – and think of PowerPoint of a stack of papers. Now imagine sitting in a conference room where you must listen and watch two presentations back to back. Mr. Prezi (wearing a leather jacket and sunglasses) stands up and presents first. He draws and writes all over the board – circling ideas, drawing lines to connect related items, and even highlighting elements for emphasis. Mr. Prezi dusts his shoulders off and takes a seat. Mr. PowerPoint (wearing a wrinkled dress shirt covered with ink stains) fumbles to the front of the room and begins his presentation. He holds up sheets of paper covered in bulleted lists and pixelated Excel bar graphs, one after the other, droning on about god knows what. If asked to recall information from each presentation, odds are you would have trouble with Mr. PowerPoint’s presentation. Mostly because you stopped listening after he held up his fifth sheet of paper. However, you will most likely recall Mr. Prezi’s work because it was engaging and fluid. His ideas evolved and clarified themselves with every marker stroke on the whiteboard. Now ask yourself, which of the two presenters would my clients rather hear from?
There has been a distinct rise in “cloud-based” software in recent years. This stems from the fact that we are now living in a very instant and hurried landscape. People never stop moving and they need access to data and information constantly. Prezi clearly understands this fact and allows users to collaborate with ease. You may invite team members to edit your Prezi – of which there is only one version, and no confusion (ie. drafts, revisions, etc). With Prezi, it is simple to edit each other’s work from the next cubicle or halfway around the globe.
I’ll leave you with this: the goal of any presentation is to leave an impression upon your audience, right?. How can you do that when you’re giving the same humdrum song and dance they’ve heard a million times before? Be bold, stand out and differentiate yourself – that’s what really counts!
Break free from slides — and start making great presentations with Prezi today!
A great example of a Prezi presentation: