PowerPoint Fatigue: Is Prezi a Better Presentation Tool?

3 things to consider before you Prezi

Contributed by Weise Communications Art Director, Nusheen Jafari

Poor presentations can have disastrous consequences. Instead of trying to punch up a weak presentation, you may want to consider a new delivery vehicle. Prezi’s zoomable canvas is a creative alternative to a traditional slide presentation. But with all the hype about Prezi, have you really thought about why you’re using it? Here’s three questions to consider before you use Prezi for your next presentation.

1.  Does your presentation really need to zoom?

It is very important to consider the type of content in your presentation. Only consider using Prezi if you plan on taking advantage of the zooming capabilities. Prezi is not designed to organize your information by pages. You must think outside “the slides.”

Take the infamous U.S. Army “Spaghetti Slide” pictured above. It is a perfect example of a type of presentation that cannot be shown in sequential slides. Although Prezi may not have been able to aid the design of the information, perhaps it could have helped deliver that information in a more comprehensible way.

Prezi works great for visual content. It’s great for showing how ideas are connected to one another. It’s easy to zoom down to one point, and then pan over to the next. Its also good for showing how your points all relate to a bigger picture by simply zooming out to show the entire canvas; for example showing a small city then zooming out to reveal the entire globe. Prezi is also great for showing diagrams and processes. The storyline feature lets you create paths and frames to guide you through a journey.

On the other hand, Prezi does not work great for text-based presentations.  If your content is more than four words per slide, Prezi will distract your audience and give them motion sickness. If you need to include bulleted lists ortext heavy information to make your point, PowerPoint or Keynote is the way to go.

2.  Is control over design important to you?

You must be fluid with your design. If you’re the type of person who likes symmetry, with information nicely aligned and perfectly centered, Prezi will frustrate you. Prezi is all about movement and fluidity, if you understand that from the beginning, you will have a much smoother experience with it.

Keep in mind that it takes more effort to control what people see in Prezi, unlike the perfectly outlined boundaries of the page in PowerPoint and Keynote. Remember, Prezi is an open canvas, not a slide-by-slide presentation. You will need to space things out on the canvas appropriately to control what people see in each step.

3.  Do you have it all planned out?

The most important thing to keep in mind when using Prezi is to develop a plan. Storyboard your ideas and think about its connectivity BEFORE you start laying it out.

The limitation about Prezi is that you really can’t preview your presentation until your done building all the parts. So, if you like to build a few slides, then preview the presentation then go back to building, you are in for a very long process. Once you build your path in Prezi, it’s difficult to edit, especially for the person who didn’t think it through in the first place. It’s also important to understand that once you start building, you’ll discover new techniques and decide to change things. However, as long as you aren’t changing the entire path you should be fine.

Make sure you practice using Prezi first; build a fake presentation to familiarize yourself with its design. Get to know its features before you commit to building a specific presentation in Prezi. Believe me, you’ll change the way you plan your presentation once you’ve experienced it.

If you have other tips that you’ve found successful with Prezi, let us know here. Do you have a great Prezi that you’d like to share? Send us the link and we’ll post it on The Side Note. You can share your thoughts on Facebook at Weise Communications and follow us on Twitter at @Weise_Ideas.

47 Responses to “PowerPoint Fatigue: Is Prezi a Better Presentation Tool?”

  1. August 14, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    I often use Prezi first as a mind map tool, than move stuff around in order to build a meaningful Prezi, then put frames and plan the path. Also make sure you start with the design you want to use in the end. Changing design later can be annoying, as elements have different width in different designs.

  2. 2 Mark Plumb
    August 15, 2012 at 10:03 am

    Martin, Thanks for reading the SideNote. I sent your comment to Nusheen and she said, that is great insight, she hadn’t thought about using Prezi for mind mapping. It is a great way to use Prezi’s open canvas.

    Let us know if you have an example you would like to share, we’d love to see it.

  3. August 15, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    Hi Mark, I have no example to show, as I have worked on all those brainstorms / mindmaps and turned them into a proper presentation. But we can Maybe do a Google Hangout on this – if you want. I can show it to you live (;

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