Posted by Dan Steer
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..
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.
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)…
..or, like me, embed your main supporting conclusions IN your main message (which I personally think looks awesome!) :
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”.)
..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).
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.
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