Tired of the Standard Slide Presentation? Try Prezi.

January 18, 2017

A slide from a Prezi presentation.

When you think of presentation software, Microsoft PowerPoint is most likely the program that first comes to mind. PowerPoint has become synonymous with presentations, and it’s often the first program anyone who needs to create a series of slides will turn to. There are of course several other competing applications available, such as Apple’s Keynote, but most of them work very similarly to each other.

Programs like PowerPoint and Keynote function on the traditional presentation model that predates computers—namely displaying your talking points on single slides, one at a time, in a linear fashion. This kind of presentation style continues to be perfectly fine and effective for many types of presentations, but sometimes you don’t need to present your information linearly, or you may even have to customize your talking points based on an organic conversation with your audience, requiring you to jump to different slides at different times.

Traditional tools like PowerPoint and Keynote aren’t designed for that kind of structure, and it’s not easy to jump from, say, slide 10 to slide 37 without interrupting the flow of your presentation. Enter Prezi.

Prezi is an increasingly popular online-based presentation tool, known for the ability it gives you to create both linear and non-linear presentations. If you’ve ever seen a Prezi before, you probably noticed its ability to zoom and rotate in and out of content, which can be a great way to grab and keep your audience’s attention.

Take a look at this example, and note these features that are unique to Prezi:

  • Notice that instead of a series of slides, a Prezi presentation takes place on a single large canvas.
  • Move through the presentation step-by-step using the arrow buttons at the bottom of the window. This is how you move linearly through a presentation.
  • But you can also zoom in and out at any time by using the zoom wheel on your mouse, or by moving your mouse cursor to the right of the presentation window and clicking the Home button to zoom all the way out.
  • From there, you can click individual elements to zoom in to.

Because there are no individual slides, you can jump to any section of your presentation at any time, simply by clicking with your mouse. This is a huge advantage in situations where someone in the audience asks a question about a topic you discussed earlier in your presentation.

With traditional tools like PowerPoint you have to click backwards through your presentation until you get to the correct slide. But in Prezi, you can just zoom out to find the spot, and then click it to zoom right in.

So what Prezi brings to the table is the freedom to move outside a strictly linear presentation style. The zooming in and out provides a wow-factor, but beyond the cool flashiness of movement, Prezi really excels in providing you a way to bring a “big-picture” perspective to your presentation.

It allows you to tell your story in a compelling visual way that lets your audience see all the pieces of the story at once, while at the same time letting you drill down to the important details. It lets you show how all the pieces in your presentation fit together and work with each other on one large canvas, rather than through a series of slides.

Prezi includes tools for adding and working with images, charts, shapes, lines and multimedia tools for adding audio and video to your presentations.  It also features the ability to both present and collaborate remotely with others, as well as allowing you to download your presentations for offline use.

Like many applications these days, Prezi is a subscription-based product, but you can sign up for a free trial at prezi.com to take it for a test spin. While you’re there, be sure to visit https://prezi.com/explore to check out some of the best and coolest looking Prezis selected by their staff.

You’ll find some great examples of the kinds of things you can do.

What to learn how to master Prezi and see its tools in action? Check out Prezi Essential Training.

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