You have to give a presentation. Whether it be for class, for work or in a desperate attempt to try to convince your parents of something, presenting an idea can be a daunting task. In such a situation, nearly everyone turns to their trusted friend: PowerPoint. It’s the simple, standard way to organize ideas and ensure that there is a coherent flow to a presentation.
Unfortunately, therein lies the problem: nearly everyone chooses it.
Put yourself in your professor’s shoes and imagine their excitement level as yet another student loads a PowerPoint presentation — it’s going to be pretty low, and nothing will bring your grade down like putting your professor to sleep.
Prezi. Prezi is a free, online presentation software that allows you to escape from the one-dimensional timeline format of powerpoint. Prezi allows you to turn your boring timeline presentation into something more like a navigable map that can easily jump between points using visually stimulating transitions.
Although it may not sound like a big change, adding an extra dimension opens a plethora of options, including zooming and rotating within your presentation.
Most Prezi presentations will start with a large-scale overview and zoom in from there, allowing a visual representation of your argument’s flow into more in-depth analysis.
Points at each level of analysis can be physically connected to one another with arrows and lines, allowing the viewer to visually follow the progression of ideas. Even the background and color scheme can be custom-made to fit the subject of your presentation. You also have the option of choosing from the site’s pre-made themes.
Although in the end Prezi and Powerpoint are very similar on the most fundamental level (both can be used to make presentations), Prezi is far more visually striking and will break your audience out of whatever daze they have fallen into by the time you present. I have even heard rumors of professors granting extra credit points out of gratitude for the change of pace.
Mere words cannot encompass the possibilities that Prezi offers. To see some samples, head to Prezi.com and watch their demo video. There is even an iPad app to take your presentations with you on the go.
KYLE SCROGGINS can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.