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:
- Build your presentation in 5 steps
- Follow these 9 PowerPoint essentials for real business people
- Turn horrible text driven PowerPoint slides into awesome big bold visual messages
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…
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
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
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 !
Step 6: Add your new section/category frames to the pathway and put them in the “right” place.
- 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:
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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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Your presentation structure will help keep attention, creating better understanding and recall of your message. This post outlines the fundaments of good presentation structure.
Build a structure that supports the message and is easy to follow
It is important to have a good presentation structure in order to:
- Create fast ROI for the audience
- Help your audience follow the message
- Keep audience attention
- Improve recall of your message
There are many different types of presentation structure and I will outline the possibilities in a future blog-spot. Today, I will show you the most classical structure, which I believe is relevant for most business presentations: The diamond structure.
The diamond structure is based on the “Pyramid Principle” from Barbara Minto – you can get more information here or buy the book on Amazon. For a visual representation of the diamond structure looks like, follow this link.
I have seen lots of different basic structures in presentations and the most recurring problem is this:
- People give details before they make their point
Minto explains that this can leave the audience confused as they listen and search for the links between details, trying to understand “What is the point?” This will encourage them to switch off (and sleep) and they will be less likely to remember what you told them.
Here is how you should structure things:
- Have a clear introduction that gives your message immediately and points to the structure that will follow (if you are not convinced about this, read Minto’s book or come to my training )
- Develop the points of your message in a logical order in the body of your presentation
- At transition points, refer back to your main message using the “Dora-the Explorer” and “Learn-to-drive” techniques described in training (to be published on a future blog-spot)
- If you have a formal question time, put it before your closing section
- To close, summarise what you said and finish by repeating your main message
..simple as that!
For the messages outlined on the blog-spot on creating a strong message, you can see the structure by following these links *:
- Use story-telling to create imagination, understanding and influence
- Company X has grown in 10 years to become a leading provider of IT solutions
- Build effective presentation in 5 steps
- If you want to understand people, you need to listen to them
* note: look carefully at how I applied the “message before details” principle at each level of the structure. If you are using PPT, this same principle should be applied to each slide, meaning that the titles of your slides will give the key message for that slide, before you give the details.
To help you create your own diamond structure, answer these 5 questions (write down your answers!)
- What are the key elements that must be addressed in order to present my message? (If you did a good job of creating your message, these will be clearly noted in the message itself)
- What is the natural order of things ?
- What must I tell first in order that what follows is best understood?
- How will I link 1 part of my presentation to another?
- Looking at any random part of my presentation, how does this follow on from what came before and lead to what is next?
Now its time to build the minimum effective dose of content…
If you have questions, contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have comments, add them!
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