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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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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.

 

 

Make a presentation in 5 steps (4): Structure

Your presentation structure will help keep attention, creating better understanding and recall of your message. This post outlines the fundaments of good presentation structure.

(If you haven’t aleady seen the overview blog-spot for making effective presentations, read this first)

 

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 *:

* 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!)

  1. 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)
  2. What is the natural order of things ?
  3. What must I tell first in order that what follows is best understood?
  4. How will I link 1 part of my presentation to another?
  5. 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: mail@dansteer.com

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Make a presentation in 5 steps: Overview

Trainees sometimes ask me: “What is the most efficient way to make a presentation?” Follow these 5 steps and you will know the answer… Objective, Audience, Message, Structure, Content !

 

The pages linked above outline what to do at each step – follow the links and follow the instructions and you will be able to make a great presentation.

Don’t cheat on these steps. The next time someone asks you to make a presentation, just follow one at a time… Don’t go adapting previous presentations and PPT documents you have already made, start from scratch…

 

…and even if you prefer other ways to make your presentation, you will still need to deal with 5 basic steps. I can tell you now that the most efficient way is not opening PPT and just getting started on your visual support! Design your presentation first!

NOTE: This is not about making nice PPT documents, but building the whole presentation. PPT is referenced in the entry on building content…

 

If you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact me: mail@dansteer.com

If you have comments, add them.

And if you want more ideas, follow me on Twitter of subscribe to this blog by entering your email address above/right…