REVIEW: Create impressive presentations online
MOST people would find the idea of giving a presentation to a crowd of people quite daunting. Having to project enthusiasm about an idea or piece of work and be able to paint a pretty picture with words and a few bullet points is not easy.
One bestowed with such a frightful endeavour may recall sleepless nights playing with PowerPoint until the early hours of the morning — overdosing on caffeine and inevitably losing all apparent enthusiasm for what really is a good idea, but is now more likely to get across to your audience as a pig’s breakfast. I’m so glad those days are over.
No, we need instant gratification these days. Advertisers, teachers and presenters need to bring the bling and appeal to our severely diminished attention spans. This is why it’s so interesting to witness the new wave of online advertising that offers a degree of interactivity and really engage with their audience. Fortunately there is one website that allows us common folk to do just that.
Create professional looking presentations such as these
Prezi is a popular piece of presentation software and storytelling tool that allows creatives to craft colourful presentations upon a virtual canvas. Users can optimise the use of a digital whiteboard rather than using traditional slides. With Prezi one can zoom in and out of this canvas, embed images and videos, move these around, add music and sound effects to a presentation and pan and zoom between all objects. The platform allows free-form brainstorming as well as more structured presentations.
An added bonus is that Prezi does not require a lot of technical know-how to use. It is intended to be intuitive and offers easy-to-follow instructions as you go along. The software was initially developed by someone with a visual mind — Hungarian architect Adam Somlai-Fischer. Initially, Prezi was intended to be an architectural visualisation tool, but now operates under the mantra of “make sharing ideas more interesting”.
I was intrigued to see that Prezi is used by some of the top presenters over at TED, which consists of talks given by various professionals from around the world. Prezi therefore offers a high level of professionalism, but can also be used for school projects, work presentations or for creating birthday montages.
There are some great examples of presentations on the Prezi website which will give you a good idea of what can be created using this powerful software. Users are also able to rate and comment on other Prezis, which may provide useful feedback for newcomers. There is now also a Prezi Viewer application for the iPad, which allows one to create touch presentations, making your work or idea even more interactive and engaging.
The free Prezi package allows anyone to create, showcase and share their presentations on the website as well as download them for offline use. One is afforded 100 megabytes of storage space to save presentations within the cloud.
The paid-for packages start from $59 (around R400) a year and allow Prezi creatives to keep their presentations private, use their own logos, allow them to create presentations offline and get direct support from Prezi staff.