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Reader Chris Reaburn introduced me to Prezi, “the zooming presentation editor” in the summer of 2009, and it remains on my list of things to dive into and better understand. Notice, it’ still “on the list,” with little progress toward accomplishing the task.  As a result, when I saw previous guest author Lesley Heizman tweet the other day about doing a Prezi presentation, I immediately asked her if she’d write a Brainzooming guest article to share what she’s found with the application. So thanks Lesley for sharing your expertise!

Prezi is not your mother’s presentation tool. If you want to keep on doing your old boring presentations with the 500 slides that nobody reads and the graphics that you can’t really see and the bullet points of everything you are going to say out loud… then stop reading.  If, however, you want to switch to a cool presentation style that will get people’s attention and focus in on your main ideas instead of falling asleep on you, then Prezi is for you.

The theory behind Prezi isn’t new…people have been talking about good presentation style and how to effectively present for years. It’s the actual execution part that Prezi excels at. By taking away the concept of slides, it changes the way you approach your presentation. What Prezi forces you to do is sit down with your ideas and distill them into the basic foundation of what you want to convey. What I tell people to do is sit down with a piece of paper and “map” out what your presentation would look like…what are your main talking points? What would the groupings of these topics look like? Do you have any media/pictures/documents you might want to share about these topics? This is a good place to start.

Without boring you with the details of the step-by-step use, you can go online and create a free account on the Prezi home page. Create your Prezi and start throwing in your ideas and text into your Prezi canvas (Hear that people? We are all artists with a blank canvas!!!).  Then re-size the text bigger for main ideas, group like text together, and unite portions with frames. Add any images, sounds, or videos you like.  Make it look pretty with a theme.  Finally, give your ideas a “Path” (your journey through your presentation), so it navigates through the ideas in a way that makes sense.  Prezi is web-based, so you can do it from any computer at any time.  If you’re not sure if the location where you’ll be giving a presentation has web access, they offer a for-purchase version of the tool you can download to work on and give presentations offline as well.

If you need help, there are some great learning tools and videos available on the Prezi site to get you started and see what Prezi is capable of producing. You might also want to check out this great Ted talk where James Geary used Prezi and discusses his thoughts on the tool.

Now, get busy people!  Start developing those fabulous presentations! – Lesley Heizman

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