Commercial Media

Experienced Communications Strategist and Legal Research Expert.

How to use Prezi without making people nauseous

If you haven’t yet heard of Prezi, it’s the next big thing in creating visual presentations with impact. Here’s a quick-reference guide to using Prezi effectively.  

Prezi is an online zooming presentation tool. When used correctly, Prezi can add interest to any presentation, resume, tutorial, or other communication. But if used incorrectly, your audience might feel like they are in some kind of washing machine, which will leave them feeling queazy and no doubt disengaged.

Here’s a quick-reference guide to using Prezi effectively:

Rule one: Movement for purpose

The most important rule in using Prezi is to create movement only when it has a purpose. That is, when the movement links to the message you’re trying to communicate.

Yes we all know the twisting zooming effect is quite cool, but imagine sitting through an entire presentation like that. I feel queazy just thinking about it.

I used the zooming movement effecitvely in a recent presentation. Th e topic was ‘focus’ and as such, I used an image of a magnifying glass. I then used a zooming movement to transition from the magnifying glass image to the information that sat inside the magnifying glass – and it was very effective. It reinforced the topic and generated a positive response from the audience, who were generally unfamiliar with such special effects.

Rule two: Choose your structure 

Prezis can have a variety of structures, and it’s worth taking the time to think about your structure before you put pen to paper, so to speak.

Here are just some examples:

  • Linear structure: Where slides move in a linear format, horizontally or vertically. This structure is ideal for corporate and formal presentations, where it’s necessary to keep a lid on your creative side for the purpose of communicating a message simply.
  • Non-linear structure: Where slides move in a non-linear format, and are usyually anchored by a common slide, such as an agenda.
  • Pictorial structure: Where the presentation is centered on an image that conveys the overall theme of the presentation. You may zoom into different aspects of the image to tell your story. This works particularly well for presentations with a strong central theme. I’ve also seen it used quite effectively for Prezumes (ie: Prezi resumes). View an example.
  • Typographical structure: Where, similar to the pictorial structure, the presentation is centered on a singular word or phrase.
  • Hybrid structure: Where several of the above structures are used to create a unique presentation structure.

Rule three: Think like a designer

This rule applies not only to Prezis but to presentations in general. Never underestimate the power of white space. Bullet points are the most uninteresting things to see on a screen and I guarantee your audience will not be able to recall them. Omit unnecessary punctuation such as full stops, and do away with bullet points altogether to achieve a clean look presentation that is visually engaging.

Presenters are meant to speak to presentation slides, not read them verbatim, so always remember that less is more. Ask yourself: ‘What is the key message here?’ The slide should be about the key message alone. Save the contextual and background information for the speaker notes.

Rule four: Slow it down!

Prezi can zoom fast. So fast in fact that there have been reported incidents of psychological impact on viewers. Aside from being generally dizzying, Prezi has the ability to trigger an epileptic fit. This raises work health and safety as well as other concerns.

So when using Prezi, ask yourself if the zoom movement created is too fast. If you need to slow it down, frame the desired object and rotate the object and frame together up to 360 degrees. The ‘twist’ effect created by the transition between frames will effectively slow down the zoom, which will be much easier on your audience.

The smaller the object, the more you should ‘twist’ the transition to slow down the zoom and reduce health risks.

Rule five: Slide down, not sideways

Sliding sideways creates a longer zoom if your slides are in landscape form. To create a shorter zoom, try sliding vertically rather than horizontally.

And remember, like any presentation, special effects are only useful when they are needed. If your presentation is making the most of Prezi, try using another presentation tool, such as Adobe Presenter or PowerPoint.

Never used Prezi?

This video gives you a basic overview of Prezi and its features.

Learn more about using Prezi


3 comments on “How to use Prezi without making people nauseous

  1. Pingback: Prezi is as Prezi does. | whyIBeducated

  2. Pingback: Prezi - the presentation app that makes me nauseous - Jennifer Ellis, JD

  3. Pingback: Creating Presentations and Hosting Webinars | The Content Authority

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This entry was posted on 11/04/2012 by and tagged , , , , , , , .
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