Creating fun and dynamic presentations – it isn't as difficult as you might think

December 30th, 2011 by Monika Jankowska-Pacyna

When I was asked to talk about AlphaPlus at one of the literacy conferences, I was worried…

Not only I am a big chicken when it comes to speaking in front of a big audience, but I am also not a big fan of PowerPoint. We have all been to sessions where there is too much text on the slides and the presenter, overwhelmed with all of the content, simply reads from the screen.

Thinking of the long list of projects and deliverables we worked on at AlphaPlus, I wasn’t sure I could avoid this issue in my presentation.

As I explored my options, a colleague recommended that I try a Prezi. I went to the site, looked at some of the presentations done by others and was hooked!

Visit Prezi: The zooming presentation editor to learn more about it.

The dynamic and visual aspect of Prezi held my attention and the zooming capabilities left me in awe.

As I watched Prezi presentations, I thought creating something similar would be difficult, but it turned out it wasn’t complicated at all. I envisioned all the animations I can do in PowerPoint and how long it takes to set them up – I couldn’t imagine how long it would take to set up the zooming in and out in Prezi. It turned out that it was done automatically by rotating the content a bit and setting up the path in which the content should appear. It was so simple!

Yes, it took a bit of time to get used to the layout and available tools, but it was so worth it!

I will admit that the first time I used Prezi, it took me 3 hours to set it up and I didn’t use it again for a while. Although I liked it, I thought it took me too long and I wasn’t sure it was worth it. Only later did I realize that it wasn’t Prezi that was the issue; it was me trying to figure out what content to use and how to organize it. Also, the feedback I received after the presentation told me that my audience loved it.

Now, I use Prezi for all kinds of presentations, including the webinars we host once a month.

Whenever I start creating a Prezi, I imagine myself in front of a big whiteboard where I can place notepad stickies. These stickies could represent text, images, videos, links, and even files. Then I start thinking about the content. What do I want to say? How do I want to organize and group content? Is an image enough to represent a specific concept or do I need text? What will be the flow of the presentation? Will I have sections? Should I add videos? The whiteboard on Prezi is my canvas and I simply drop my ideas on it and then organize them.

Prezi’s site allows you to create and manage your Prezis, share them with others or make them private. It also has a great Learn section where you can watch videos on how to use Prezi. In the Explore section, you can see presentations done by others. Some of them can even be duplicated and edited.

What I like about Prezi the most is that it is my visual cue during presentations. I avoid text as much as I can and instead use images and screen captures to represent my ideas. I also spend a lot more time thinking about how I will organize the content to make sure that the audience understands my message and visualizes it. It works great and I love the feedback I get after our presentations.

Monika Jankowska-Pacyna is a Project Coordinator at AlphaPlus. A big fan of technology and new gadgets, Monika not only loves training others in how to use them, but also uses them in her work on a daily basis.