PowerPoint Versus Prezi

Do you make presentations from time to time? Perhaps you train your staff, do sales presentations to potential clients, or post presentations online? The most common program to use of course is PowerPoint; I don’t know about you but I’m bored with it, it’s so very predictable

On the upside PowerPoint is easy to use, easy to learn, and accessible. However, if you are modestly technically savvy and would like to wow your audience, you might want to take a look at Prezi, www.prezi.com.

What’s the Difference?

Well dear old PowerPoint lets us show slide after slide after slide, one after the other in all their regimented glory, while Prezi is like the whiteboard in your office, or board room, but bigger. Imagine an infinite whiteboard where you can let your ideas roam to their hearts content – where you can add photographs, videos, documents, shapes – anything you want.

By now you may be thinking I’m a Prezi salesman, but rest assured although I am a fan of Prezi, I still use PowerPoint on more occasions than Prezi. Why? Because it’s simpler, quicker and easier. But, if I really want to impress a group, or a prospective client then I’ll put the extra time in to do a Prezi presentation.

The big difference is that PowerPoint is pretty much a monologue – slides come up and you address each one while the audience reads the bullet points. Although to be fair, many people are now ditching the bullet points and becoming more creative with PowerPoint, but that’s another story.

With Prezi you can move around the unlimited white space at will; if a question arises from something you said a few moments, or an hour previously, all you have to do is zoom out, and then zoom back in to the previous point, image, or graphic. The Prezi people say that their program allows for, “… conversations: enabling people to see, understand, and remember ideas.”

I leave it to them to make their point, “Seeing is believing and a picture can tell a thousand words, but a picture doesn’t tell an entire story. A visual story has a flow and narrative, where images and words work together to present an idea or lesson. Use Prezi’s open canvas to construct a story arc, where visual context leads the viewer on a path of discovery. To understand complexity, one must zoom out to see the big picture and in to see the details. Prezi’s 3-dimensional canvas is a virtual space where you can delve deeper and pan wider to broaden the conversation.”

The Pros and Cons

So, what are the pros and cons of these programs? PowerPoint’s strengths are: its simplicity; the program is housed on your computer; the masses of templates and backgrounds available; the ability to change fonts to anything you have on your computer; all the standard transitions that are available; the ability to link to an external website; the ease of adding images; the printability of handouts, and the ability to insert Microsoft tables, charts and graphs from other programs such as Word and Excel.

I wouldn’t blame you at this point if you were ready to stay with PowerPoint and dismiss Prezi, but don’t rush into anything, this is not an either or situation. Let me tell you about Prezi’s strengths and you will start to see that it’s horses for courses – which program you’re better off using will depend on what you want to achieve.

So, let’s look at Prezi’s strengths. The biggest thing of course is the ability to zoom in and out of any part of your presentation at will. This complete flexibility is very useful and also impressive to those watching. It makes the presentation visually exciting and that in itself is a huge plus point when it comes to keeping an audience’s attention. The other thing of course is that you can integrate any media seamlessly into your Prezi presentation in a way you simply can’t do easily with PowerPoint.

Another important aspect is Prezi’s stability – once you’ve made it, it’s there as a presentation and everything WILL work; unlike PowerPoint where it seems quite often the audio, or video just fails to activate, or sometimes even appear.

If two, or more, people are making a presentation Prezi is without question the way to go, as each presenter can go anywhere they like in the presentation – remember it’s not linear! That leads to one final big plus – you can deliver the presentation online to several people at once if the need arises. An added bonus is that you and several colleagues can build your Prezi presentations together in real time, even if you’re continents apart.

If you are using Prezi to make sales presentation it lets you adapt your pitch on the fly to address what matters to each customer. Skip forward, explore a side topic, or jump back to review—all without flipping through slides.

Both programs have challenges; PowerPoint is too prescriptive, you are tied into progressive slides making it difficult to go back to a point, or graph, later in the presentation. The other thing is that PowerPoint files can get massive.

Prezi you are restricted to a fairly small number of starter templates, but in all fairness you can add a whole bunch of elements to make them more exciting. One downfall of Prezi though is that if you want it for free you have to make all your presentations public, which may not be realistic. However, for as low as $20 USD you can get rid of the Prezi logo, add your own logo, and keep all your presentations private.

If you make a lot of presentations and want to stand out from the crowd, then Pro Plus is the way to go. Although $159 USD per year, if you use it to make one important deal-winning presentation, it will have been worth it. Pro Plus allows you to have unlimited storage, privacy control, access on nay device, premium level support, image editing tools, offline access and advanced Prezi training.

One more thing; there is a learning curve with Prezi – it’s not hard and there are lots of tutorials, but you will need to make an effort.

In my opinion I’d use Prezi for those important pitches and promotional presentations every time – it’s so versatile and impressive.

For everyday presentations PowerPoint is still an excellent program, and for Mac users there is always Keynote which offers far more design-forward templates.

Prezi is to impress – PowerPoint is the stalwart.

You can learn more about Prezi’s that Morello has created here.

www.morello.ca | www.yourbbc.com