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When you are giving a presentation, ideally you've got a place in mind that you want to take your audience--a journey with a specific destination. And every purposeful journey needs a map. So before you set out to build your prezi, you are going to want to set aside some time for planning. This planning could be in the form of a sketch, a mind map, or even a series of index cards. But whatever you do, don't slip back into slide mode in your head. It can be a real challenge to start thinking outside of the slide, but just creating a series of frames and stepping through them in Prezi is going to be one big yawn and a big missed opportunity.
This is your chance to think more creatively and convey another level of meaning to your information. Now you may be thinking, "I'm not creative at all. I'm right-brain thinker." Well, lucky you. This isn't about painting a pretty picture; it's about logically organizing your information. And if you think about it, are sequential slides really logical? Orderly sure, but they may not be a very logical way to show relationships and interdependencies that likely exist. When you're looking at your content and concepts, plan out spatial relationships. Help your audience see connections between related ideas by placing them close to each other on the canvas.
Less-important ideas should be smaller. Another metaphor you can use is the climax. Start with minor supporting details, then zoom out for the big reveal. To help you see these connections and hierarchy, I highly recommend sketching out your ideas and fleshing out content on paper before starting to build your prezi. For example, here's my sketch for the prezi we will build in this course. Think about the organization of the information and fill in the details later. This structure is as important as the foundation of a house. Without a clear strong foundation, the whole thing will fall apart.
Then look for templates that will work with that structure, and I'll talk more about templates in an upcoming chapter. You can always customize a template, but I've found that it's easier to start from an existing one, especially when you are new to Prezi. If you have an idea for your prezi structure that involves complex graphics, you may want to consider laying out your canvas in Adobe Illustrator or other vector drawing programs such as Inkscape or LayOut, which is the 2D companion to Google's SketchUp 3D editor. To give you an idea of what I mean, here's a good example of the use of complex graphics.
This is a prezi that was created by Prezi founder Adam Somlai-Fischer, someone who has a lot of experience with Prezi. So here he created the entire background structure in a vector art editor and imported it into Prezi, and then he added paths for animations and zooms to various areas in the artwork. And this is a great approach for people who are a bit more creative and don't want to rely on templates. Now, a final word about planning: make sure you're making Prezi work for you, not the other way around. Try to break out of slide mode and think about your presentation as a journey with twists and turns and drama, not just steps in a straight line.
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