I’ve been pretty balanced about Prezi in previous articles. ‘What does Prezi do for a poor speech?’ then ‘Prezi- Is it any good?’ and also a sort of sales pitch for its strengths in ‘Prezi vs. PowerPoint‘. Now Prezi version 3.79 is a very good piece of software. In skilled hands it is a brilliant tool, but in the average presenters fist, it’s like Death by PowerPoint with psychotropic drugs included for free.
Yes you can zoom, and swoop and spin with it, Yes you can add sound and music, video and fabulous graphics. But it doesn’t mean you should. And just because it’s NOT PowerPoint, doesn’t make it better.
Most poor presentations are little more than supervised reading sessions with the speaker an intrusion to the readers’ concentration, and if you look at the sample Prezi’s at www.Prezi.com, most users seem to be using it for just that purpose.
We know from What are the Presentation Skills I Need? that visuals for a presenters should be simple, clean and clear, and supported, explained and given emphasis by the spoken word; but surely the speaker should be the centre of attention or why bother being there?
Now you can make pretty good reading material with Prezi, and I often use it for that; and you can make interesting visuals with it as a part of a great speech- see James Geary talking about Metaphor on TED.com here but a poor speech can no more be helped by brilliant software than can a poor film be saved by Johnny Depp- ‘The Tourist’, anyone? Remember-
A good ‘handout’ makes a poor presentation, and a good presentation should make a poor handout. You can’t make suprevised reading interesting, even with Prezi.
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