I spent last Friday working with the creative team from JC Decaux in NYC. I was running a Prezi Training Course for them. They’re a very talented and impressive bunch. I was working with Pam, Renaud, Destiny, and the creative team. They are designers and marketers to a man and woman, PowerPoint experts to boot, and they’ve started to explore Prezi’s potential to help them pitch new business with even more impact.
Towards the end of the day, having covered the basics of the tool (easy to learn), and the differences between PowerPoint and Prezi as visual aids, we began working on a draft Prezi presentation that they were preparing for an important upcoming meeting.
Renaud, the Creative Director, was trying to get his head, around the process of creating a Prezi that didn’t just replicate that ‘linear’ style PowerPoint experience. We’d been working for about an hour, me giving him options for layouts, animations and transitions from point to point in the presentation. To see what he liked and didn’t. At one point he said- in his sophisticated French accent, because he is French…
‘I’m beginning to see that a good Prezi isn’t just about learning how the tool works. It’s about understanding how you can create Prezis that have real visual impact, not creating Prezi’s that look just like a PowerPoint…’
And he’s so right. Prezi has a few, simple, significant strengths over PowerPoint. Prezi’s ability to use layers and zooming to create moments of emphasis, surprise and visual flair, can be stunning if done well, sick-making if not.
So if all we do is create dull ‘slide’ like presentations when we start to use Prezi, then we’d be much better off sticking to PowerPoint, because PowerPoint’s really good at that. For confirmation of this, all you have to do is look at Prezi’s own top staff picks for 2012 (see here) for some examples how enthusiasm, and no thought for the reality of actually making business presentations, can lead to a nightmare of ‘look it’s not PowerPoint, so it must be better…’ blindness.
So when should you ditch PowerPoint for Prezi? When you have the time, skills and understanding that will allow you to do a fantastic job that makes the most of Prezi’s strengths. Otherwise? Stick with PowerPoint or you’ll just create another pig in a pretty hat.
In the next post I’ll share 5 things that you need to know before using Prezi for a major presentation. And then we’ll be honest in telling you how Prezi can be great, for those really big occasions, but it’s an investment, not something you can do without help.