You may know Prezi. It is a free, open-source software which has revolutionized the communications industry. I had heard of it a year ago, at teachers’ staff meeting. I was captivated. I could easily see Prezi being used in the business sector where PowerPoint is still the go-to-software for marketing presentations and continuing medical education.
With a PPT deck, the audience sees (and reads) slide after slide in a very linear and predictable format. While links and embedded videos are always a possibility, the default flow remains sequential and pre-determined. It can be easy for the mind to wander (especially the busy minds of technologically driven youth). It is practically impossible to zoom in on any aspects of a slide.
With Prezi, the flow is not linear. The presentation is based on a complex canvas of ideas which are posted and grouped within a simple, thematic background. The software does all the work of introducing flair, design, imbedded videos and royalty-free images. At any point, the viewer can take steps to zoom into or enlarge portions of the slide contents. I have begun to see youthful and upbeat television commercials that use this “zooming” approach.
Sounds technical and artsy? Not at all. Okay, well maybe just a little. However, the free online platform is very user-friendly. I made my first two “rookie” Prezi attempts last evening at midnight (I was committing to learning Prezi the same day as the conference).
I selected personal, timely and low-risk topics that required no research. I practiced making a presentation that I could use with my kids (e.g. How to make a Science Fair Project). Note that I am still working on adding the audio (music or narration is essential in my opinion) and I will get more proficient with each presentation that I ‘throw’ together. In the name of extra practice, I may make a digital birthday card for a friend or a digital compilation of my child’s artwork. Or maybe I could make a virtual “business card” to attach in my emails.
I may also take a friend’s uber-serious literature review on cancer and see how his medical PowerPOint slides transfer over into a Prezi. There is lots of opportunity for me to practice and I can see endless reasons to use this technique for personal branding, professional portfolios, corporate marketing and, of course, for medical meetings.