PodiumWise | Tips for advanced presentation skills

I don’t subscribe to the blanket condemnations of PowerPoint that visual experts like Edward Tufte are inclined toward.

Tufte is well deserving of his guru status (I have all his books), but I don’t agree that PowerPoint is inherently problematic.  It’s a tool.  It can be used well, or not well.

That said, I have to confess to frustration on those occasions when I have to make my own PowerPoint slides.  Since I have had graphics support most of my career, my own practice in PowerPoint slide development has been irregular.  That means my slide-making skills can’t keep up with my thinking when I’m planning a presentation.  Quite frankly, it can drive me nuts.

Over the weekend I tried out a new PowerPoint alternative called Prezi.  After signing up for a free, public subscription at www.Prezi.com, it was only a matter of hours before I had my first presentation ready for a workshop I’m delivering this week.  With Prezi I felt empowered, instead of frustrated.

I won’t try to describe in detail what Prezi is all about.  You can learn that by going to the Prezi website.  It’s fun and informative.  Suffice it to say that Prezi enables you to plan a presentation in a non-linear, white-board fashion, that yields an eye-catching presentation ready to be projected.

I’m eager to see how this week’s audience responds.

2 Responses to “Prezi is a Promising Alternative to PowerPoint”

  • bsteele says:

    Kim,
    I agree with you that Prezi can be used as just “bells and whistles.” You can see that when you go to the Prezi website and view the public examples. In some cases the authors seem to have done nothing more than create a modern art-like collage that spins around. A more meaningful use of the tool would be to show how various pieces of information organically fit together.

  • Kim Toufectis says:

    Well said. As I read him, Tufte’s primary concerns are (1) the limitations of a fixed slide space to balance big picture and detail, and (2) the “one damn thing after another” syndrome that makes the audience integrate information across multiple, consecutive slides.

    I am impressed by Prezi as offering a substantial leap forward to the thoughtful presenter in each of these respects. It is worth noting that it can be used instead as just “bells and whistles” trying to hide the reality of fuzzy exposition, and in these cases it will be as vapid as a poor PowerPoint presentation.

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