Blog Archives

Make Effective Tables for your Presentation – 8 Simple Tips

Too many numbers, lack of focus and bad formatting make tables impossible to understand and energy consuming for your audience. Follow these 8 simple tips to make effective tables that you can use with pride in your presentation.

 

If you need to present numbers, you may believe (like me and Gene Zelazny) that graphs and visuals are the best way to go. But if you (your company or audience) are number-hungry, maybe you’ll still need to include a table in your presentation from time-to-time.

 

But PLEASE: Don’t let it look like this…

 

Bad table formatting

 

This is the kind of table that might drive Don McMillan mad in “Death by PowerPoint” . It is bad because there is no message, there is too much data and nothing stands out.

If you insist upon including such a “raw-data” table somewhere in the appendices or giving it as a hand-out for the finance guys, then at least make it look like this:

 

raw-data table with good formatting

 

…or this, if you like a bit of colour …

 

raw-data table with good formatting - 2

 

To achieve an effective raw-data table like the ones above, consider the following 5 tips:

  • Differentiate row and table headers with different font formatting
  • Add background colouring to cells to seperate columns or distinguish headers from data
  • Put totals in a different font, or in bold
  • Use more white space to separate chunks of data
  • Make cells large enough to have some white space around the numbers

…now you have a nice raw-data table for your appendix or hand-out.

 

But if you are presenting numbers with tables as an integral part of your presentation, you cannot drown your audience with large data like the tables above. Follow these additional 3 tips to bring a clear message and focus to your numbers:

  • Identify your main message and make it the title for the table
  • Remove any irrelevant data – other numbers can always be seen in the appendix
  • Highlight anything that needs to stand out using formatting

 

Applied to the numbers in the raw-data table above, with a specific message in mind creates a table more like this:

 

good table formatting

 

So, if you want to make effective tables that you can use with pride in your presentation, concentrate on your key message, reduce useless data and bring more focus to what counts.

 

Thanks for reading!

Got any more examples? Share them please!

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Use your “listening to kids face” when listening to your audience

Sometimes I see presenters taking audience questions with a serious, stern looking face and I wonder how the person asking the question felt about that. The presenter is not doing it intentionally (just concentrated) but really looks mean! They need to use their “listening to kids” face….

 

Just now, my youngest daughter (4) came to my office while I was working on something and started talking to me. I wasn’t expecting the “interruption” and I had my “concentrated work face” on. She was talking about something she had just been doing and I realised that my face must have looked really miserable to her. I wasn’t miserable, but I was concentrated and a bit tired, maybe a little bit frowning.. ..and just listening to her. It looked something like this:

bad presentation listening face

 

 

 

 

 

As I realised this, I changed my facial expression and saw almost immediately her own expression change, which I took as an indication of how her feelings (about talking to me) changed. My new listening face looked something like this:

good presentation listening face

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you want people to feel good about asking you questions in a presentation and if you want them to feel like you welcome the question and they can ask more if they want to, then you need to put on a good listening face. If you don’t, they risk to think you don’t care or that you are annoyed by their question…

Here’s a few tips to put on your “listening to kids face”:

  • Relax, especially between the eye-brows
  • Smile, with your eyes as well
  • Nod your head a little
  • Try tilting your head a little (like dogs do!) as if to say “What’s that you said?”
  • Imagine yourself saying “OK, I like what you are saying. Keep going…”

 

If you want more tips for a good charming listening face, read “The Power of Charm” by @BrianTracy and Ron Arden. Its a very easy to use and easy to read guide to active listening.

 

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Import PowerPoint to Prezi with Style: 10 Steps, 20 Minutes

Prezi offers a great function to simply import PowerPoint presentations. But if you want to do it with style, follow these 10 steps…

(Note: In this post, I have used my Cefora HRM Day PPT presentation on new ways of learning as the working example. Have a look at that first, then check out my finished Prezi presentation here – its simple, but nice.)

 

First of all, when you make your PowerPoint document to begin with, don’t forget to follow the basic rules:

You need to have a clear message, structure and content in your PowerPoint before you import to Prezi. If you have that, let’s get started!

 

Step 1: Start from a blank canvas

The purpose of this post is to show you how to easily create good visual style and good structure in your Prezi. So don’t pick a Prezi template when you start. Ignore all the templates and click on “blank”.

 

Step 2: Delete that first default Prezi frame

I mean the big circle frame. You don’t need it…

delete first default prezi frame

 

Step 3: Import your PowerPoint with “grid layout” template

The whole point of this post is that too many people are using the same Prezi standard layouts when they import their PowerPoints. Its not that they are bad, but chances are you are using Prezi instead of PowerPoint because you want to be original. And too many people have already used all those layouts.

With some small effort and the tips in this post, its easy to do SO MUCH BETTER. So ignore all the choices it offers:

  • Using the “insert” button, choose “PowerPoint” and locate your file.
  • Be patient with the upload, it takes a while…
  • When the slides are shown on the right of the canvas, choose “insert all” at the top
  • When presented with the different layouts possible, choose “grid layout” – this will give you the best overview of all your slides
  • Keep the path between your slide for now
  • Click the green arrow

import ppt prezi grid layout

 

Step 4: Move individual slides to bring a first structure to your presentation

Now you can see all your slides, you can apply some simple structure.

  • Move your slides around on the canvas so that slide that go together are together – do this by dragging the frame around. Be careful not to change the size yet!
  • If like me you have generic first slides (title slide, company template slide, agenda) get those out of the way for now…
  • Use the canvas space freely at this point – we can fix that later

prezi group ppt slides for structure

 

Step 5: Put some nice colourful frames around those groups of slides and name the sections/categories

Again, if you prepared your PowerPoint well, you probably know what these presentation sections/categories are all about. But your audience doesn’t, so you can name them now…

  • Use the “add frame” function to put a frame around several of your slides – make it a solid frame
  • Double click above the canvas near one of your sections/categories and add some text to name that section/category
  • ..then drag the text into the new solid coloured frame
  • Repeat per section until you have something like this – starting to look good !

prezi ppt structure with frames

 

Step 6: Add your new section/category frames to the pathway and put them in the “right” place.

That means:

  • Click on “edit path”
  • Click on each of your new frames so they are added to the path (navigation bar)
  • Move the new frames to their correct position in the pathway. For example, if your first section/category is called “A” and consists of slides 1, 2, 3 put your “A” frame in front of 1, 2, 3. And if section/category “B”  consists of slides 4, 5, 6, put your “B” frame after “3” and before 4, 5, 6….

 

Step 7: Add a presentation title to your canvas

I am going to put all my content IN my core message. Its cool – you’ll see what I mean later, but first:

  • Be sure you know what your message is. If you didn’t do that before you made your PowerPoint, you probably need some “Presentation Skills” training with me. 🙂
  • Zoom out a little bit on your canvas and move to somewhere blank
  • Double click somewhere on the canvas to add some big text
  • Write the message title of your presentation

 

Step 8: Choose a nice template for your Prezi – one with good “hole-y” font styles

To achieve true style when you import your PowerPoint to Prezi, it would be good to have a font style that nicely lends itself to putting frames inside it. You are looking for something with holes in it, like I found in my example with the “pastel theme” subtitle font…

  • Click on “template” and choose your template
  • You can customise fonts if you want to
  • Find a font that has some holes in it – in a minute, we are going to place our “slides” inside those holes….
  • You will see that your “presentation title” (step 7) has now been updated to the new font
  • ..and your section/category frames may have a different colour

 

Step 9: Place your section/category frames inside the text, rotating a little as necessary

As I said in my previous post on Prezi structure, it is important to use the different dimensions and rotation possibilities in the right way. I think that navigation within sub-parts of a Prezi presentation should be done gently and big structural changes can be more dramatic. To achieve what I did in my Prezi here, start by rotating some of those big solid section/category frames you made earlier to fit them into your text

  • Have a look in your “presentation title” text for a nice place to put one of your big section/category frames
  • Click on a frame
  • Rotate it to align with a gap in the font
  • Drag it to where you want in the text

 

Step 10: Nurse your individual frames to perfection and finalise your pathway

You will see that Prezi does some odd things to your original PowerPoint slides when it imports them onto the canvas and you will need to spend some time finishing up now. If you had an extremely simple PowerPoint (no objects, just text always the same size) then things will probably be OK. But if not, you may like me find that some objects are now in the background, text may have moved, shapes may be screwed-up… You will need to fix that now before you finalise your pathway. Here is a list of things I had to do:

  • Put some text back in the foreground (right-click and “bring to front”)
  • Delete some things that looked good in PowerPoint, but are terrible in Prezi – eg: my Excel-generated graph, which is now a completely different image
  • Replace some PowerPoint objects with Prezi’s own objects – eg: the arrows on my graph

 

There is a lot more you COULD do to improve this Prezi – I added some fade-in effects and a little more pathway movement. And because my Prezi is for a long conference, I put the “presentation title” text in-between each section/category as a transition to remind us of the general point from time-to-time.

But I promised 10 steps and 20 minutes, so that’s it for now.

 

If you followed my steps, your Prezi will be far more original and stylish than all the other standard PowerPoint imported Prezis out there…

To close, here are 2 links for more information on some of the things I did above:

 

Good luck!

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Connect to your audience, like Yannick Noah

Several years ago, my wife’s company invited its employees and family to “Roi Baudouin Stadium” in Brussels to see Johnny Hallyday in concert. Now, I’m not going to mention his name again, or (dare I say it in Belgium) mention how terrible that entire experience was for me. But I would like to say something about his support act, Yannick Noah.

 

Noah was a tennis player first, but now makes music. Opening for Johnny, he was wild. Hs music was full of energy and so was he. And then it happened: With his cordless microphone in hand, he jumped off the stage and ran into the crowd of 60,000 people, running around singing IN the crowd. I’ve never seen anything like it. 60,000 people and he still jumped in. It was awesome!

 

Now, I don’t think this was a pre-thought strategic move from him. i think he did this out of pure excitement. It not as if he was greeting his fans – they were there for Johnny (or because they were Belgian, or out of some kind of “wifely work obligation”). But what he did was brilliant and a good lesson for any presenter: Get in there. Be with your audience. It breaks boundaries, creates dynamism and connects you to the people you are talking to.

 

Here are a few simple ideas to try out the next time you speak in public:

  • Don’t stand in the same place all the time. If you read “What you can learn from Dora-the-Explorer about presenting” you already know that movement can reinforce presentation structure. But it can also improve audience relations. Movement will change the room dynamics, the connections you have with one or other audience member…
  • If you are presenting to a large audience (a big room, say 200 people) use whatever you can from the room layout to add dynamic movement to your presentation. If you can walk up an aisle to get closer to someone who asked a question, do it.
  • Don’t forget that movement goes up and down as well as left and right and back and forth. I like very much to squat down or perch on the edge of a table when listening to a long comment or group discussion during a presentation in a small room. I’m trying to send the message that its not about me anymore, so I get a bit more out of the way.
  • Meet people at the door. I’m sure if Yannick Noah could have shaken hands with the 60,000, he would have. The last time I spoke at a conference as part of Epsilon2012, I shook hands with every one of the 200-odd people coming into the room, looked them in the eye and thanked them for coming. Get in contact with your audience!

 

Almost every presentation you never see is either exactly the same as the last one, or a minor upgrade in terms of performance. Try these tips to make a mark on your audience and really connect.

 

 

i’m currently researching for more content for my e-book “Build and Deliver Awesome Presentations”. What else should I include? Please leave me a comment with ideas…

 

 

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Turn horrible text driven PowerPoint slides into awesome big bold visual messages

During Presentation Skills training, we learn all about the 4 pillars of an effective presentation: Message, Structure, Content and Style. In content and style, we also look at how visual supports are used to support and message and speech: What would be the minimum effective dose when it comes to discussing a certain topic? Is a chart a better way of showing growth than a table? Should I add some images to my PowerPoint? And what kind of visual style should I use?

In my other post “9 PowerPoint Essentials for Real Business People”, I listed some very simple pointers for fixing PowerPoint slides. In this post, I develop one PPT slide example to show how we can turn bad text-driven slides into awesome big bold visual messages…

 

First, let’s look at the original slide in question:

1

This slide comes from a PPT deck in support of a presentation explaining how a particular bandage is better than another. One of the primary reasons is because this bandage doesn’t hurt when being taken off an abrasion-injury…

 

What’s wrong with this slide?

If you appreciate the 9 PPT Guidelines then its clear:

  • There’s too much text
  • The title is bad
  • The colour contrast is not effective
  • Its not very visual

 

Let’s see what we can do. First, to get to the minimum effective dose of text, take out anything that doesn’t have power (that’s why they call it PowerPoint, after all!):

  • Look for what words carry the structural and content “weight”
  • Take out useless prepositions (if, by, and, of…) and articles (a, the, an…)

 

You might end up with something like this…

2

That’s already a lot better!

 

One the ideas I like a lot about PowerPoint is Vinod Kholsa’s 5 second rule – if you can’t tell what a slide is about in 5 seconds, then its not good enough. A good next step to helping solve that is to add a message-driven title that actually says something. Try this:

 

3

..now, in the context of the greater presentation, we know immediately what this slide is about. What next?

 

Personally, I think a better colour contrast on PowerPoint slides makes a big difference to how physically easy it is to look at something and how aesthetically pleasing it can be. Keep the following in mind:

  • Contrast is important to create good easy readability: Be sure to have light on dark or vice-versa
  • Your eye will focus on whatever is brightest. This means that a bright white background is going to get all your attention… that is tiring and leads to headache. Better to have a dark background…
  • …but if you do that, bear in mind that your printing costs will be higher. Consider having a dark-background for the wall and a white background for the handout.

 

Here is the new improved contrast version:

4

…immediately much better. Of course, don’t forget to customise your colours to suit the company branding, or your marketing guys will be really unhappy !

 

OK – its getting better. We are close to the minimum (maybe…) but its not very visual. A visual slide will work much better for the majority of people.

Here’s some basic guidelines for getting visual:

  • Avoid old boring dodgy clipart – we’ve all seen it all before and it doesn’t make you look clever!
  • Don’t draw things yourself unless you want to be “quirky” (like I did here) or you’re a really good artist
  • Don’t opt for the first results you find in Google – chances are everyone else already used that as well
  • Make sure your images are high quality – use the “other sizes” link bottom-right underneath Google thumbnail images to find better quality pictures
  • If you are going to steal copyright (which I know you wouldn’t do…), don’t take the image with a watermark for copyright on it. It just looks lazy.
  • If you are talking about numbers, pimp your table (blog-post to follow), use one of the right 4 chart types (blog post also to follow) or maybe even consider just showing an image which tells the story without reverting to numbers (you can put the numbers in a handout)

 

In this slide, the presenter added in an image that really shows you what he means by abrasions:

5

…but he kind of just slapped it on there without thinking. #Fail

 

Where should you put images when there is text on the slide?

Answer = left of the text block. Why? Its simple, because it lines up more nicely to the text block, like here:

6

 

Now, there are exceptions to this rule and the above example is not finished yet, so bear with me…

If you have text which is justified to the right, then of course you could line your image up better on the right. And if you have just a few bullet points that can be creatively placed to line up better, go for it. Click here to see one of my own examples.

 

In the slide above, the image is in the right place, but it is not looking beautiful yet. I think it would be much better to increase the size of the image to match with the size of the text block, like here:

7

 

Personally, I think we’ve come a long way from our original text-driven slide. We have gotten rid of a load of text, we’ve made more contrast and added a message-driven image, which is in the right place. Some people would stop here and depending on your style, that might be the right choice.

 

But personally, in terms of minimum effective dose (within the greater framework of the entire PPT) we can do a lot better.

First, let’s get bold with that image:

8

Hurts to look at? It should! That’s the point!

 

..but hang on a minute: The text says that an example of an abrasion is road-rash or something you get from sports + play, that’s its a superficial wound, that it hurts and that its prone to infection. Doesn’t the image already say all that? Wouldn’t the following do just the same?

9

For some people, this is too much. For me, it really is the minimum effective dose. For me, its an awesome big bold visual message.

 

The advantages of awesome big bold visual messages are many:

  • It will be understood more quickly by the majority of people
  • It will stick in people’s heads a little bit longer (certainly in THIS example!)
  • It will oblige you to talk around your point instead of reading from the slide
  • People will think you are awesome 🙂

 

Thanks for reading – I hope this helped

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Prezi structure is essential …or “Why most Prezi users should be SHOT”)

Prezi is a great tool full of functions, but if you don’t follow good structure guidelines it can all go terribly wrong….

I admit it sounds harsh to say people should be shot, but actually it’s an acronym for what should be done to most Prezi users: They should be Stopped, Helped or Trained. Why? Read on..

As people start adopting Prezi, many of them forget 2 of the 4 pillars of an effective presentation: Message and structure.

What do most people do with Prezi? They see a big wonderful canvas that goes in and out and left and right and up and down and they just start doing EVERYTHING. As a result, I am seeing Prezi presentations that swing in and out and left and right, using random animation effects and terrible pictures that for some reason are rotated 37 degrees to the left. This must stop.

 

In this post, I’ll explain how to apply the fundamental presentation concept of message + structure to a Prezi presentation. If you do what I say, people will be able to follow your Prezi presentation (without sea-sickness) and your main message and its delivery will be reinforced by excellent structure.

(And if you are intrigued about how I phrased that last paragraph, read here why it is important to answer the only 3 questions that count!)

 

First, here is an example of what I want you to do…

Got it? OK, now let’s break it down…

 

Prezi is a 3D canvas (surprise!) consisting of height, width and depth.

Prezi dimensions

 

There are 2 major options for how to present your main message and supporting conclusions. Either do it like a mind-map would (radial principle)…

message and conclusions - example 1

..or, like me, embed your main supporting conclusions IN your main message (which I personally think looks awesome!) :

2a

 

Now let’s talk dimensions… You can move left/right, up/down and in /out in Prezi. Which one’s work best for which reasons?

If you want to avoid sea-sickness and reinforce the natural (diamond) structure of your presentation, then height and width are used to move BETWEEN structural parts of your Prezi and depth is used to add detail WITHIN one part.

(Note: If you’ve taken my option for presenting your supporting conclusions WITHIN the main message statement, you will be obliged to exceptionally use the depth dimension almost immediately to “add detail”.)

using Prezi dimensions well

 

..and finally, what should you do with the possibility of spinning and BIG movement in Prezi? When should you use a big spin, rather than something moving gently left/right or up/down?

Its easy: The bigger the movement, the more the audience will feel like there is a big change happening. So restrict your big spins and large in/out movements to major structural transitions. In this way, you can reinforce your structure just like Dora-the-Explorer would.

For movement between sub-points at the same structural level of detail, make your movements gentle left/right or up/down. (A little rotation is OK, but don’t go overboard).

4

 

If you apply all these simple ideas, your Prezi will make global structural sense and people will be able to follow. Of course, these are only guidelines and you can make exceptions for effect wherever you like.

To see it all in action, have a look at my conference Prezi on how “How to Improve Formal Learning with Social Media “.

 

For more Prezi tips, have a look at:

 

Thanks for reading.

Please share, follow me on Twitter, leave a comment., follow the blog..
..or join me in Prezi training.

 

 

Presentation Skills training with @dan_steer 21st and 28th March 2013

If you want to learn how to architect and deliver awesome presentations, join me in Brussels for the this training. Read on for more information…

..but if you just want to keep self learning, skip to the references at the end of this blog. There’s a lot of great content!

 

Training, 21st and 28th March 2013 – What’s In It For Me?

  • Improve your presentation messages in order to better inform and convince your audience
  • Be able to efficiently build a presentation that creates maximum attention, understanding and recall
  • Learn about the 4 pillars of an effective presentation: Message, Structure, Content and Style
  • Boost confidence and fluidity …even when facing audiences of different types
  • Be able to confidently deal with whatever comes your way during your presentation… (Questions ? “Difficult people”, experts in the room.. “Blank faces staring back at me”)

 

Practical information

  • To book a place, contact me by email mail @ dansteer.com or call 0472-36226
  • Dates = March 21st and 28th 2013, from 9am to 5pm each day
  • Location = Brussels
  • Language = English
  • Small group – max. 5 participants
  • Everyone will present several times
  • ½ day trainer-led start = assess current approach vs. best practice with specific exercises
  • 1½ days participant led learning = starting from your presentation(s), you receive complete constructive feedback and relevant techniques to improve your performance regarding the 4 pillars of an effective presentation
  • Participant pack includes: USB with filmed presentations, workbook, copy of “Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs” by Carmine Gallo, after-training email with all specific learning points + additional references
  • Pre-work includes:
    • Survey of current competence, experience + expectations
    • Share thoughts on keys to effective presentation via wallwisher.com
    • Invitation to join LinkedIn group to meet other participants prior to day1
  • Investment = 1100euros HTVA per participant

If you know someone who can profit from this training, please feel free to share the link.

Thanks in advance..

D

 

..now, for those of you who wanted references to keep on self-learning:

Have fun!

 

 

Prezi training with @dan_steer on 16th + 23rd January 2013 (9am to 1.30pm)

I have spent several months getting up-to-speed on the tool and am now offering that expertise via 2 half-days of hands-on training. If you are wondering how to use Prezi in a professional way, but didn’t take the time yet to figure it out for yourself, come to this training. If you are not so good self-learning and need some expert input, come to this training…

 

Next edition = 16th and 23rd January 2013 (9am to 1.30pm) , Brussels

  • Email me on mail @ dansteer . com for more information and to book a place

 

Introduction

For many years, the business world has used one common solution for almost all presentations : Microsoft PowerPoint. If it wasn’t PPT, it was a contending version of the same linear slide-by-slide presentations.

In April 2009, architect and visual artist Adam Somlai-Fischer publically launched prezi , a different creative and visual presentation software. Using Prezi, you can make presentations that will stand out from the others, panning + zooming through content on one large beautiful presentation canvas.

Two examples of what you can do with Prezi:

 

Objectives of this training

  • Be able to create a Prezi presentation that respects the 4 pillars of an effective presentation: Message, Structure, Content, Style
  • Be able to navigate through the Prezi editing canvas, using all available functions to create an awesome presentation
  • Receive feedback on your own Prezi, including content, function and style
  • Understand what makes the difference between a sea-sick badly structured Prezi and a Prezi with good flow and readability
  • Be ready to present with Prezi

 

Training content

  • Advantages and disadvantages of using Prezi
  • Presentation design in 3D – getting the most out of the additional Prezi dimension and how to pan and zoom effectively
  • The editing canvas and all basic functions (templates, themes, text, image, film, other media…)
  • How to import and Prezi-fy an existing MS PPT document and make it really stand out
  • Making visually appealing Prezi presentations
  • How to use frames and pathways to tell your story well
  • Different possibilities for creating, collaborating, viewing and sharing your prezi
  • Tips for better usage of Prezi (using remote clickers, background music, merging into WordPress…)

 

Training approach

As with all my training, you can expect a dynamic and fun learning environment, with good sharing and plenty of real hands-on learning.

  • Prior to training, each participant will be invited to do some pre-reading on the fundaments of an effective presentation and watch a short video introduction to the tool and trainer. In addition, participants will be invited to connect via LinkedIn to avoid spending 30 minutes “getting to know each other” during paid class-time.
  • On day 1 of training (4 hours), each participant will create a first basic Prezi presentation step-by-step with the trainer. In this way, everyone leaves the room understanding how the tool works and all different functions.
  • Between day 1 and day 2, participants are expected to make/refine a Prezi, using whatever functions they want and implementing learning from the first session.
  • Day 2 begins with an evaluation of the homework, sharing ideas on what looks great and what doesn’t work. Participants are then invited to learn advanced Prezi-ficaction skills.
  • As per all my trainings, after each day an email is sent with additional references and learning points for the inspired and motivated learner.
  • Participants are invited to join the Dan Steer LinkedIn group on “Presentaiton Skills” to continue their learning with other presentation makers from my network.

 

By the end of this training, you will have a complete overview of the tool, have created your first Prezi, got feedback on what looks good and what needs improving and be ready to continue making your own presentations !

 

Practical details

Dates = 16th and 23rd January, 9am to 1.30pm

Location = Brussels

Price = 500 euros HTVA

Subscriptions via email to mail @ dansteer . com or by telephone +32 (0)472 346.226

 

Already using Prezi and need some help?

Thanks for reading and sharing..

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The Best Prezi Tips I Found Today

33 tips for Prezi users to improve their Prezi presentation. Including structure, movement, paths, backgrounds, rotated-text, quality screenshots, images, keyboard shortcuts, using YouTube, adding music and step-sounds, embedding in WordPress …

Over the last few months, I have been browsing around for cool prezi tips . This post lists all my favourites. Please share!

Given the initial success of this post and my work with Prezi, I now run a training session on the tool. More information here: Prezi training with @dan_steer

 

Right, let’s get started…

 

9 BASIC TIPS ON PREZI STRUCTURE, PREZI CANVAS, IMPORTING POWERPOINT..

 

1 Create your basic structure close up, then add details zoomed-in

This is in line with my work on how to make a presentation in 5 steps. In Prezi, focus first on getting the big picture sorted, then add the details. The big picture should be closest to the eye, the details can be smaller, zoomed in. Use the layers.

 

2 Don’t overdo movement

The movement in Prezi is one of the cool selling point features that make us like it, but as with any presentation, your content needs to be minimum effective dose : do what only is necessary to support your needs or message.

  • Use movement to show the relationship between elements and to support the story-telling of your prezi
  • Make small steps between things that will be discovered “quickly” over the course of your actual presentaion to the public
  • Use big steps to mark the transition between different parts of your presentation structure

Good Prezi movement and structure is explained in detail here:

 

3 Add frames to your path as you edit in order not to lose things in Prezi

When you add things on your canvas, sometimes they can get lost. To avoid this problem:

  • When you have added something on your canvas, click on “edit path” and add it immediately to the pathway
  • ..that way, if you move it around, resize it and “lose” that bit of your Prezi, you can just click on the frame in the “edit path” navigation bar on the left and Prezi will take you back there… 

 

4 …but don’t worry about the final presentation order until near the end

If you are clear about your presentation structure, then you know more-or-less what your final Prezi path is going to look like from the start. But don’t worry about the exact order until you have finished adding everything. You WILL make changes anyway.

 

5 You can “bring-to-front” or copy/paste just like in PowerPoint..

..in order to move things from the front/back of the canvas

Note: I don’t mean zoom in/out, I just mean that in any one 2D-position on the canvas, you can change which things are on top of others, just like would in PowerPoint.

 

6 Select multiple elements on a Prezi canvas

There are 2 ways to do this:

  • Hold down the “shift” button on your computer, then click and hold your left mouse button while you drag the pointer over the canvas to select several elements
  • Click one element, hold down the “shift” button on your computer, click on the next element, keep holding “shift” and continue…

 

7 Group elements together so you can move, resize, rotate and work with them as “one element”

Just as you can group things in PowerPoint, you can do the same in Prezi.

  • Follow tip 6 to select multiple items
  • … then click on the little “padlock” icon to lock them all together
  • (You can unlock them later if you want to)

 

8 Make a big bold call-to-action with a font that contains all your content inside it…

No idea what I mean? Watch this video to see how sexy-fonts can help you make beautiful Prezi presentations…

 

9 If you have a PowerPoint presentation, import it into Prezi

Yes, you can import PPT into prezi! Watch this movie for a functional explanation.

Once you have done that, you can place your slides in order to create structure, show level of importance of content, groups slides together using frames, add formatting, images, arrows etc…

 

 

12 TIPS FOR BEAUTIFUL PREZI PRESENTATIONS .. GOING TO THE NEXT STEP…

 

10 If you want your rotated text to still look rotated in “SHOW” (presentation) mode, you can..

Just put an invisible frame around it and point to that (instead of the text itself) when you create your path.

 

11 Use 3D backgrounds

The guys at Prezi send me emails with tips from time-to-time and this is one of my favourites. The backgrounds that are possible with 3D and multiple 3D are awesome.

 

12 Fade-in things within a frame

Sometimes it can be handy to have things fade-in onto the screen just like we do in PPT. Follow this link to see how to achieve this in Prezi. Its very easy to fade in anything in a frame…

  • (As I said above, it is important to focus on minimum effective dose and in general I’m not a fan of this kind of animation)

 

13 Create extremely high-quality webpage “screenshots” in your Prezi

Because of the zoom feature in Prezi, what at first looks good when screen-captured from the web can look pretty bad when you zoom in. If you want to do a good job of zooming in on things you screenshotted from the web DO NOT use print-screen on your computer:

  • Instead, create a PDF of the web-page you want to show
  • Use this website to do this for free: http://www.web2pdfconvert.com
  • Import the PDF image of your web-page into Prezi and it will be super high-quality at all zoom levels

..as a side-note here, if you do screenshot things, set your computer screen preferences to 1024 * 768

 

14 Try some cool templates

If you read my other post on how to import PowerPoint to Prezi with style you know I’m not a fan of the standard options in Prezi. They are nice, but already starting to get a little old. If you want something new, check out some of the Prezi templates at prezzip.com. There is a limited collection of things free to download, but the price of an app will get you something really tasteful…

 

15 Customise theme colours in Prezi and keep your marketing department happy

You can do this by manually custom formatting the colours + fonts via the theme wizard in Prezi

  • Go to “Template” menu
  • Click on “Customise Current Theme” at the bottom of the “theme” area
  • Click on “advanced” and choose your colours

 

16 …then save your custom theme for the future

At any moment when you are editing your Prezi, you can click on “Theme” and scroll down to the bottom to “Save Current Theme”. Easy!

 

17 Add background music to your Prezi

If you want your Prezi to have music playing in the background, this is easyto achieve now (March 2013):

  • Click on “insert”
  • Choose “add background music”
  • Most obvious music file types will work (MP3, M4A, FLAC, WMA, WAV, OGG, AAC, MP4, and 3GP) and certainly if they already work in iTunes. Prezi will convert them if necessary.
  • You can see that the music has been added by looking at the top of the “edit-path” navigation bar on the left
  • …that’s where you go to delete the music as well

 

18 Add sound at a specific moment of your Prezi presentation

Have a look at this Prezi. You will see that I’ve added sound files at specific moments in order to explain my content. This takes a bit of work, but is really easy.

  • Record your sound file. You can do this with your PC (sound-recorder) or, as I did, with an iPhone.
  • Select the relevant step of your path in the “edit-path” navigation bar on the left
  • Click on “insert”
  • Choose “add voice-over to path step [#]”
  • As with background music, most sound file types will work and Prezi will convert them if necessary
  • ..you can easily delete them from the step by using the “edit-path” menu on the left

Prezi ZenDesk has published a tutorial on how to insert music into your Prezi – this tutorial explains tips 16 and 17 in detail so you can add music in the background or at specific steps.

 

19 Manage the way YouTube videos are treated when showing your Prezi

When actually delivering a presentation, it might be good to first say a word about a video before showing it, but you other times you might want it to play automatically.

Today (6th May 2013) when you insert a YouTube film, Prezi puts a frame around it and adds the frame to your path. This means that the film will not play automatically. You have to click it.

If you want to get Prezi to play the film immediately when it gets to that point in the path:

  • Remove the frame (be careful not to delete the film)
  • Click on “edit path” and then click on the film element itself
  • This will add the film to the path, thus is will play automatically

If you change your mind, just put a frame around the film again and add the frame to your path. This will mean you need to click on the “play” icon to play the film. 

 

20 Add some free flash to your Prezi

UNFORTUNATELY – PREZI STOPPED SUPPORTING FLASH, SO THIS IS NO LONGER POSSIBLE….. PLEAS IGNORE

Prezi works quite well with (SWF) flash files and you can insert them onto your canvas like any other element. A few additional tips:

  • If you are making flash files for Prezi yourself, work with a 30fps frame-rate. That’s the speed Prezi will run it at, so you won’t get any surprises like my friend who had prepared a jogging Flash man who ended up sprinting!
  • If you need free Flash files, you can get some here: http://www.ffiles.com – I used a free file from ffiles.com for the smoking background in this Prezi

 

21 Convert GIF files into SWF files to use the animation

Animated GIF files do not work in Prezi. You need to convert them to an SWF (flash) file first. You can do this with a free GIF to SWF convertor. More information from the Prezi team here.

 

 

12 TIPS FOR WORKING MORE EFFICIENTLY WITH PREZI

 

22 Add things to the path regularly

Sometimes I get lost in my Prezi, wondering “Where did I put that word?” The more I use the dimensions and depth, the more this happens. To avoid this:

  • When you add something you don’t want to lose, add it to your path
  • ..click on “edit path” and add the object”
  • That way, you can always navigate back to it later and edit some more
  • ..and delete it from your presentation path if you want to

 

23 Delete frames without deleting content

Be careful when you delete a frame. It will delete everything inside. Unless ….

  • Click on the frame
  • Choose “frame options” (to the left of the classic “delete button”) and click on on the “delete frame only” button (at the bottom)

OR:

  • Right click on the frame
  • Choose “remove frame without deleting content”

 

24 Use an external mouse to edit, not a laptop touch-pad

Really. Just stop it. I’ve seen so many people struggling in training. Just buy a mouse!

 

25 Prezi has shortcuts too. Use them.

Here’s a list of keyboard shortcuts you can use when creating your Prezi online or on the desktop version: http://prezi.com/learn/keyboard-shortcuts.

  • If they don’t work, you need to enable shortcuts via the settings menu on the top-right of the Prezi you are editing.

 

26 Use a remote mouse to control your Prezi presentation (in a conference, like with MS PPT)

According to the Prezi guys, most remotes will work with Prezi straight away and if not, you can use the desktop software. Frankly, I couldn’t get mine to work at all at first. (Note: 26th Sept 2013 – It does now!)

It works now (update: March 2013) but just in case: Here is a work-around for presenting via your online account that I found on this Prezi community page:

  • Create your path as you would
  • In edit mode, click anywhere (not twice, as that adds text) then press “space-bar” to enter “show” mode
  • If your browser is still showing all the menu-bars, change it to full-screen mode
  • Your remote will take you through the path. Simple as that!

 

27 Embed your Prezi in WordPress

For an example of what I mean, have a look at this post.

It’s quite simple to do, but not so obvious to figure-out.

 

28 Use your Prezi as a whole website!!

If you don’t want to develop a whole website, why not just use Prezi as one. You can have a Prezi presentation as your homepage, with none of the prezi.com page around it.

 

Note: Today (26th Sept 2013) I can’t open this link any more, so here it is step-by-step:

 

29 Choose good Prezi titles for search engine optimisation

Prezi.com has a high SEO score and is a really popular site. Presentations published on the Prezi platform are easily found by Google.

If you want your Prezis to be found by Google-searchers, then use good keywords in the title, eg: Your company name + content-related words.

 

30 Give your audience a hand-out

Easy! Just click on “print” in Prezi and save a PDF copy.

 

31 Use prezi at the right time of the day, in the right browser

  • If you are using Prezi in Europe, do it in the morning. It goes a lot better, probably because the USA is still sleeping.
  • …and use Firefox. Its far more reliable for Prezi editing than Internet Explorer.

 

32 Change the url of your Prezi

This is perhaps the world’s most obvious Prezi tip, but in case you (like me) were wondering: If you update the title of your Prezi presentation, it will correspondingly update the url. Bearing in that Prezi is pretty SEO friendly, this may have a positive (or negative) impact on your page-ranking via search.

 

33 If you have good images, save them to “My Collection”

If you are sharing a Prezi logon or regularly using the same images yourself, it is efficient more efficient to save them to Prezi in “My Collection” rather than have to upload or copy them each time:

  • Right click on the image
  • “Add to My Collection”
  • You will find them all waiting for you when you next use “insert”
  • ..in the part “My Collection”

 

 

That’s all for now!

 

Have fun!

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Answer 3 questions to convince your audience

When presenting for an audience, selling something or even just talking to another person, you need to answer 3 key questions. If you don’t, you will not get the attention or result you want.

 

In “The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs” @carminegallo notes one of these questions and says that its the only one that an audience cares about: “How can this help me?” or “How is this interesting for me?”. I agree that this is the bottom-line when it comes to presenting.

 

In order to answer that question clearly, I ask my training participants to get in the habit of literally answering the following 3 questions the audience is asking themselves and to do it asap in the opening of their presentation:

  • What is your point?
  • What’s in it for me?
  • What do you want from me?

 

An example would be as follows:

“Hi. My name is DAN and I’m here to tell you that the best way to kick-off a presentation is by answering the 3 core questions your audience wants to here about. If you listen to me, I’ll explain these 3 questions, their motivation and how to answer them. I hope you will be convinced to do this in the future when you present.”

 

Another example:

“Thank you for joining the presentation. I only have one thing to say tonight and its simple: My product will make your work easier. In the next 10 minutes, I will show you how its different features can help benefit you with very little effort from your side. I am convinced that you will be ready to collaborate with our company and I’m ready to answer all your questions in order to win the business.”

 

These 2 examples are quite different. Both are equally direct. Some might say too direct, but the 3 questions are clearly answered.

 

So: Go forth and answer these question as soon as possible. If you do, you will have the ear of your audience. The rest is up to you…

 

Thanks for reading

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