I know there’s a lot of Powerpoint haters out there but I’m not one of them. I remember using it for the first time towards the end of college and being thrilled with how easy it was to show photos, and I still enjoy it as a visually rich medium today. Yes, some powerpoint presentations are terrible, but many other kinds of presentations are terrible too. I’ll risk following the lead of the gun lobby to say that ‘Powerpoints don’t bore, people do.’
Nonetheless, I was excited to see a different kind of software in action for the first time at a recent conference, and used it in a presentation of my own on Friday. Prezi let’s you create one big canvas and zoom around on it to focus on different aspects of what you want to say. Your presentation lives online so you can access it from any computer with an internet connection, and you can e-mail people a link to your presentation for them to view on their own.
That said, it seems just as easy to go wrong with Prezi as it is with Powerpoint. The zoom effect is fast enough that you could easily get overzealous and end up with a roomful of disoriented audience-members. The canvas-like starting point gives you more leeway to present your ideas in a non-linear fashion, but it still won’t organize them into something meaningful for you. If your presentation doesn’t have a clear organizing thread there’s nothing the software can do to help.
Check it out yourself! Clicking here will take you to the online version of what I showed on Friday. If you have any suggestions for improvement, let me know!