Getting Messy with Prezi

PreziPrezi and messy don’t actually rhyme, but close enough…

Anyway, welcome everyone to another installment of Tech Tuesday with Grant Cushman, starring Grant Cushman! Today we’re going to be discussing Prezi and all of the wonderful features of this presentation software. For all of you who know what Prezi is- I’m sure you can sing its praises along with me; for all of you who don’t- you can go ahead and uninstall Powerpoint now because you’ll never want to use it after you see what Prezi can do.

Prezi, as defined by wikipedia, is a ‘cloud-based presentation software and storytelling tool for presenting ideas on a virtual canvas.’ It’s helpful to imagine Prezi being a gigantic whiteboard where you write down all of your ‘slides’. Powerpoint would be more analogous to a book where you turn the pages. With Prezi, you can zoom in and out as you draw focus on certain areas or ‘slides’ while your presentation progresses. You can really utilize your space in a way that’s impossible with Powerpoint. This is a great example of what a finished Prezi looks like when it’s completely zoomed out:

Finished PreziNow, obviously, you wouldn’t stay at this slide for the entire presentation- you’ll want to move around and shift focus as you go. You can set up Prezi to follow a specific path so that every time you click ‘next’ it will bring attention to the next spot.  Play around with it and you’ll be hooked. This Prezi shows some of the tools you can utilize and generally gives a good idea of how Prezi works: http://prezi.com/vi6_sw5gmzxf/prezi-the-zooming-presentation-software/

Hopefully, at this point, you have a pretty good understanding of what Prezi is and what it can do for you as an admission professional. Prezi offers a look and feel that is completely absent from Powerpoint and provides a presentation that is so much more dynamic and ‘alive’ for both the presenter and the audience.

Hopping into Prezi can be a daunting task, but luckily I’m here as your trusted, charming, and humble guide. Here are 5 tips on how to get started with Prezi:

1. Don’t be afraid to zoom, but don’t get too crazy!

One of the biggest pitfalls with new Prezi users is the propensity to either use the zoom feature too much or not at all. The zooming can offer a unique ‘slide’ change when given in the right context, but can also be extremely disorienting and confusing for your audience. Be modest with your zooming and use it as a transition rather than a ‘look what I can do’ spectacle, otherwise you’ll get something like this: http://prezi.com/vi6_sw5gmzxf/prezi-the-zooming-presentation-software/

 2. Keep it simple

This is more of a tip for general presentation skills, but I still see time and time again; presenters will put their entire talking point on a slide and then recite what’s already written down. With Prezi, it’s even more imperative that you condense your ideas into succinct statements, since the excess of words can clog the unique space you’ve created. The power of prezi is in its simplicity, and putting too many words and images on the screen can really take away from what the presentation is all about. A prezi (or any presentation software) should be a compliment to the presentation not the entire presentation itself. For example, do this:

History of Breakdancing ShortNot this:

History of Breakdancing Long3. Diversify your fonts

Once again, this point is good for ANY presentation, but it’s incredibly effective when used in Prezi. Prezi’s ‘theme’ function allows you to have a bank of three different fonts in any color you want. These fonts are divided into Title, Subtitle, and Body, but you can use these however you want. Feel free to throw different fonts on top of each other and really play with your space. Allow me to illustrate what I mean:

Boring Grant

Boring, bland, and not at all engaging- unlike me (and probably you). Spice things up a little bit:

Spiced Up Grant

A slight, but incredibly effective, difference.

4. Use pictures creatively

The interface of Prezi allows for a lot of versatility with any sort of medium, including pictures. With the ability to rotate, distort, and zoom in on pictures using Prezi, you can really get away from the idea of framing your text around your picture. Allow me to illustrate this point using Prezi itself. Using pictures in Prezi effectively is the difference between this:

wow spaceAnd this:

Oh WOW Space5. Have fun!

Alright, I’ll admit- I couldn’t think of a fifth tip and a ‘top 4’ list just doesn’t roll off the tongue as well. But really- Prezi is an incredible tool and can be used to create some amazingly engaging and dynamic presentations for your institution. I know Powerpoint is the staple of business presentations, but I feel that we in the Admissions world can push the boundaries a little bit and invest our efforts into mediums like Prezi to further engage students and families. I promise you- once you learn Prezi, you’ll never look back.

CUSHMAN OUT.

Link to Prezi’s website

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