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Breaking Free From PowerPoint: A New Way to Present

Like many of you, I’ve spent years working with PowerPoint. I used it in college for projects. I’ve used it throughout my career internally and externally to present ideas, processes, and results. Although it’s been around since 2009, a friend recently introduced me to “Prezi”, a different way to create dynamic and engaging presentations. I might be in love….

On their wiki, Prezi is described as a web-based presentation application and storytelling tool that uses a single canvas instead of traditional slides. Text, images, videos and other presentation objects are placed on the infinite canvas and grouped together in frames. The canvas allows users to create non-linear presentations, where users can zoom in and out of a visual map.

Prezi has some extremely user-friendly instructional videos on their site, including a step by step guide on how to “prezify” your existing PowerPoint presentations by importing your slides and spatially rearranging them. Or, you can start from scratch with a blank canvas. Click anywhere within your Prezi to add ideas, zooming into each idea to elaborate, add images, etc. During your meeting, you can navigate freely throughout the presentation, adding a more natural flow to your story. You can zoom in to highlight details or out to talk big picture tickets. The non-linear aspect really allows for true organic dialogue.

If you need inspiration, they have a multitude of sample Prezis on the site. Some even use Prezi for fun projects, such as digital birthday cards. Recent grads are even using it to create “Presumes” to stand out from the crowd. This fall, they plan to launch “Prezi Meeting”, which allows all participants to update shared templates in real-time, regardless of whether they are on location. Each participant can monitor the others’ actions, seeing changes and reviews as they happen.

What do you think? Would you use Prezi? Have you used it and if so, did it enhance your presentation? I’d be curious to hear how this type of tool has been used in the public sector!

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Gerry La Londe-Berg

@govdigest @prezi @goloop All in the same place. Nice to see it coming together (via Twitter)

You are so right. It took me awhile to realize that presentation development in Prezi is one huge big flat palette.

I also Love their samples. It’s amazing what their interns do; they open the realization of the possibilities.

Dr. GovLoop

My husband was raving about a Prezi he saw someone give earlier this year. At that time there were still some security concerns about it, but that seems to have been cleared up. Looking forward to trying it!

Jennifer Kaplan

That’s where they hook you as well. You can get free use of the system if your presentations are public, but if you want secure/private hosting, it’ll cost you!

Sachin Shah

I’ve checked it out, but the fact that presentations are public mean its a no-go for me. I do lots of presentations in Excel. It’s really cool to watch the audiences eyes light up as I take questions and do the analysis right in front of them. No more “I’ll get back to you”.

Ray Lewis

I saw my first Prezi this morning while checking the details for the upcoming conference and checked out their website. I signed up for the free account and then found this blog. Liked the examples, but a couple that I was most interested in were 404; maybe after paying $59 per user they became private.

The novelty factor may wear off over time, but I like the non-linear possibilities for engaging an audience. Importing PowerPoint slides to leverage current materials is good. Embedding screenshots, video and the possibility of interactive creation are pluses, but not sure about hyperlinks yet.

Jeff Brooke

I’ve seen it used well and gave it a quick spin myself. As others have noted here, it can be superior for non-linear presentations, but could be deadly for linear presentations. Definitley get to know it. It’s so different from PPT and, well, everything else, that there is s bit of a learning curve. And if not used with restraint, it could yield presentations that give the audience motion-sickness, with all the zooming and jumping.

Victoria A. Runkle

I really like Jeff’s comment. Remember the purpose and your audience. I saw a presentation and it used all the bells and whistles. I felt a bit of motion illness. The audience was completely left puzzled. It is a tool for a younger audience. But, I did read over the weekend that some folks are using it to build a visual resume. I am interested in seeing someone’s, if you have a link.