Show of hands. How many people are tired of PowerPoint?
I know, it’s not fair to blame the technology for the content. Or, in this case, the medium for the message.
But there is something about PowerPoint that invites abuse. Law firms are pretty bad offenders when it comes to this. They share volumes of detailed information via a channel that is most adept at sharing visual information. A generation of lawyers have been trained to perform the PowerPoint move: Read the long paragraph to which they are subjected as quickly as possible, marvel at the fact that the presenter is reading the entire slide aloud, and dream of life outside the conference room.
I would recommend a new functionality, one that can sense when a user has inserted, say, 200 words onto a single slide. At the point, a dialog box would pop up, reach out, and bludgeon the user senseless.
You’re right, you’re right: Violence is never the answer.
But until people learn to wield PowerPoint more effectively, the answer may be … Prezi.
Have you Prezi’d? I did, twice now, and I’m still grinning.
Prezi is just another apparatus that allows you to convey presentation information. It too utilizes a slide-based format. But because it zigs and zags while PowerPoint shuffles, Prezi encourages the user to get jiggy with it.
Here is a video about it:
The slides themselves may turn and wheel in and out of view, at the presenter’s discretion. That allows you to insert the element of surprise into what used to be an uneventful slog. Prezi even allows you to let attendees finally see the “big picture” you’ve created. For example, in a Prezi I did for law school students, I literally punctuated my discussion of the state of the legal economy with a question mark—comprised of all the slides together.
Want to see a Prezi I built? Go here. To advance, just click the arrow in the center beneath the window.
Because Prezi is a sketch and not a novel, though, you may not understand the “show” without me, the presenter. But that’s how it’s supposed to be. Attendees at a gathering should watch the speaker develop his points, rather than race him to the end of a text-laden slide.
Prezi is pleased to announce it has surpassed 10 million users. And they even let us know that a new functionality is available: You may upload your PowerPoint slides and have them be transformed into Prezi slides. (I had limited success with that. My PowerPoint came in fine, but some of the PP bells and whistles did not; clearly, I should read the manual.)
Who else has Prezi’d? Care to share the show you built? And what did you think? Will it help you engage listeners more effectively?
The “big picture” of my Prezi “canvas” (click to make it larger)