Brett Sadler

Five tips for using Prezi


I first heard of Prezi on Twitter. I must confess, the first few times I saw the word Prezi it didn’t really register with me. But then Nick Atkin, CEO of Halton Housing Trust, tweeted a link to a Prezi he was giving later that day at a conference. I clicked on it from my iPad, not really being sure what to expect. I duly downloaded the iPad Prezi viewer, but alas, I couldn’t really work out what the Prezi was really about. I now know that I had made the mistake of trying to manually zoom around the Prezi, meaning that I was looking at large areas of blank space. It still wasn’t clear what Prezi was for, although in face value it did seem interesting and different, and I do have a habit of needing to investigate new and innovative ways of communicating.

First tip – ‘don’t try outwitting a Prezi – it will only end in tears’.

Due to my first experience, I left it untouched and unresearched for a while, but then with more and more tweets referring to being such a great thing, I had to look into it further. On signing in to Prezi and checking out a few of the recommended Prezi’s, I was hooked! It was amazing what could be done – words within words, whole scenes, zooming in and out – the possibilities seemed endless.

Then I was asked to give a 5 minute presentation at #tai2013cymru – Wales’ Chartered Institute of Housing Conference. This seemed like the ideal opportunity for me to have a go at using Prezi.

Second tip – ‘find an excuse to try using Prezi’.

Of course, it wasn’t that easy at first. If I was basing the final Prezi on the time it took me to produce, it would have been the most expensive presentation I’ve ever designed. I’d also have to say that one of my first Prezi’s, which at the time I was particularly proud of, in the light of another day just made no sense………and here’s why.

Third tip – ‘unless you have a reason to zoom in and out, it’s just annoying’.

My earlier Prezi zoomed in and out all over the place. I was really pleased with it at the time as I thought it was really creative, but when I looked at it the following the day, it just gave me a headache, which is a criticism levelled at Prezi from quite a few quarters. I decided to persevere, so started a completely fresh one off and this time, I didn’t use a template at all. I tried to work out the outline of my Prezi slides before worrying too much about the detail.

Fourth tip –‘keep it simple (stupid) – KISS’.

By the time I had spent a long time playing around with the content of my Prezi, I was actually pretty pleased with the result. I’d worked out how to add a decent background (for mine it was a blue sky – positive all the way) and how to ‘tell a story’, even if it was a short one.

Fifth tip – ‘use Prezi to tell a story’.

In speaking to Nick, he also suggested I tweet out my Prezi as a sneak preview beforehand (the day before the conference), which I did, and I duly had some nice positive comments back from some of my Twitter followers.

I turned up on the day of my conference presentation and panic set in – I needed an internet connection to make my Prezi work (as I hadn’t downloaded it beforehand) and I’ve not had much luck in the past with technology. But thankfully, after a few heart-stopping moments, it worked.

In the end I gave my first ever conference Prezi (one of the first at Tai I think?) and it was a great feeling. I even tweeted a link to my Prezi after the event again and on last check, I’d had 38 views (To view my Prezi click here). But of course, now that I’ve used it once successfully, I’m looking to use it again.

Thankfully, I’ve now been asked to give a short talk about Anti-Social Behaviour by TPAS Cymru and as I was asked the question, I’ve said I’ll use Prezi. Another challenge!

On another note, it also seems I’ve encouraged a few other people to give Prezi a try, including my CEO Paul Diggory, which I am really pleased about.

I have to say, in my humble opinion, Prezi will take over Powerpoint in the years to come and it seems that the number of Prezi converts is constantly on the rise. The flexibility it allows is so much better and it can certainly make for a more inclusive, interesting presentation.

Let me know your experiences of using Prezi by leaving a comment below!!


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One thought on “Five tips for using Prezi

  1. Hi Brett

    You and your readers may appreciate two posts I have written about using Prezi well…

    Best Prezi Tips:

    ..and how to structure Prezi presentations well in 3 dimensions:

    This second post is about avoiding sea-sickness and reinforcing the structure and coherence of your messages.

    Thanks for posting!

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