Nancy Duarte is an American writer, speaker, and Founder/CEO of Duarte Design. Duarte Design specializes in the creation of presentations, focusing on storytelling and visual thinking to craft persuasive communications designed to shift audience beliefs and behaviors.
In any presentation, the most important thing is your audience. But careful consideration of your audience should begin earlier than you may think — with the medium you choose to address them.
There’s a huge range of ways to get your message across, from a long-form document to a keynote presentation or a hybrid of the two, which we call a Slidedoc.
In our experience, Prezi works best for messages that:
- Require showing scale,
- Need to illustrate parts of a whole,
- Must be self-navigable,
- Should be easily shareable,
- Aren’t too text-heavy.
We’ve curated some Prezis to show what works and why.
Sometimes the audience needs a little help understanding the true impact of a concept. For example, it can be difficult to grasp the gravity of a number that’s unfathomably large — how much is a trillion, exactly? Alternatively, a statistic that doesn’t seem impressive may gain new gravitas in comparison to another. For example, if you explained that you have 7% of your market share, that wouldn’t sound very impressive. But if you show that your competitors only have 1%, now we’re talking.
Prezi is great at showing scale – especially massive scale. Its unlimited depth makes it a great canvas to showcase the relationship between objects. This Prezi reminds us of Eames’ famous Powers of Ten™ video.
It works because the audience has a single reference point throughout the presentation, and every bit of motion is essential to the meaning.
2. Parts of a Whole
Understanding an object or a concept is much clearer in context of the bigger picture. For example, how do parts of a network interact with each other? How does a certain department fit into the organization? Is there a pattern between one set of data and another?
Prezi can be a great tool for showing relationships between parts and whole. Because of the ability to zoom and retract, you can literally dive deeper into different topics within a larger environment. This presentation works well because there is a realistic canvas to keep the audience oriented — but it never goes too deep. Throughout the presentation, the audience is aware of the bigger environment, which makes the moves meaningful and predictable.
The reason presentations are so powerful is because they’re a chance for you to make a meaningful connection with your audience. Without you there to guide them, you need to make sure your audience has enough information to understand your message. We call this mash-up between a presentation and a document a “Slidedoc.”
Prezi is a great container for a Slidedoc-style presentation, giving your audience a big canvas of information they can easily explore at their own pace.
This Prezi does a great job informing the audience without overwhelming them.
Note: Prezi gives the option for voiceover so you can add additional context without adding more content. Voiceover works best when slides are set to auto play so they automatically advance after each audio clip is complete. Don’t worry; viewers can still skip ahead if they’re in a hurry.
4. Easily Shareable
Presentations don’t exist in a vacuum – there are communications that come before, during, and afterward to help your audience understand and take action on your idea. Especially with pre- and post- presentation communication, it’s handy to be able to send links to your audience so they can easily access your content.
Because Prezi is web-based, you can share files with just a link, eliminating problems associated with file size and version control. You can easily make global updates to your file or suspend permissions at any time. And with a Pro aAccount, you can collaborate with your team simultaneously.
Note: Merely publishing a Prezi gives you visibility among their community, like YouTube for presentations. You can visit the “Explore” page to browse thousands of user-created Prezis, making it easy to get inspiration or even conduct research.
5. Not Too Text-Heavy
Prezi offers an infinitely large canvas, which makes it tempting to fill it up. But just because you have the space doesn’t mean you should cram in everything. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. All that space gives you the freedom to break your content into easily digestible pieces — especially if you’re crafting a traditional presentation instead of a Slidedoc. Your audience should be able to glance at the frame and grasp the concept within about three seconds.
Plus, the more text in your Prezi, the more you’ll need to zoom in — eliminating the audience’s visual reference points. All of the examples we’ve shared work because, despite the huge playground, they’ve practiced restraint by giving the audience only the information they need.
Remember, all presentation software has the capacity for good and evil. Choose wisely by making your decision based on what’s best for your audience.