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The history of presentation software, like many of the presentations themselves, isn't terribly exciting. Because the software has primarily been for business use, which is notoriously conservative, breaking out of the linear slide-after-image-after-slide-after- slide paradigm has been difficult. Enter Prezi. Prezi lets you take what's inside of your head and put it on the screen. Complete with the storylines, direct relationships, and tangential connections, it's a chance to bring your information to life. That being said, if you have a very linear story to tell that doesn't lend itself to illustration with images or other media, Prezi may not be the right approach.
For example, consider an Apple product launch. They tend to focus on big shiny images of the product and very simple slides with just a couple words. Adding zooming animation may actually distract from their message of simplicity and their focus on the products. When you need to tell a more complex story however, Prezi can help you tell that story and engage your audience in ways not possible with traditional slides. It can be a very effective way to bring complex infographics and timelines to life for example. I think the US Military could have used it to present their infamous spaghetti slide more effectively, zooming and panning and explaining relationships.
So what is essential for a good prezi? Solid structure, plan what you're going to say and how you want to tell your story. What metaphors are you using to present your information? Is it a flowchart or moving along a path or revealing parts of the whole? We will talk about that more later in this chapter when we discuss planning. Pacing and spacing. Prezi sets you free from the boundaries of the slide. Use that space. Spread out and take your audience on a journey through your canvas. By panning to different areas you can create a narrative and even a bit of drama into your presentation, a small jump over to related content, or a total shift of perspective for a brand-new idea.
Smooth transitions. A good Prezi does not make the viewer seasick. This means you will need to take it easy on the really fast panning from one side of the canvas to the other or zooming in and out and in and out in rapid succession. Instead, gently move from one element to another and allow some time between transitions. Keep design in mind, using consistent colors and fonts. Luckily you don't need to have a design degree to build a great-looking prezi. Prezi provides you with an array of fonts and templates to choose from, so you can be sure to use consistent fonts and colors throughout your prezi.
If you are a designer, you can customize the template and color palette to suit your content. And ultimately, tell a good story. A good Prezi will have a strong narrative that will drive home your message, help your audience understand a complex idea, or take them on a journey with you. It will resonate and communicate better than any flat linear slide presentation, and ultimately that's what makes a good prezi. In this course, I'll be showing you all the tools Prezi offers to help you accomplish this.
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