Avoiding Death by PowerPoint

I only have one major bit of advice to avoid “Death by Powerpoint:”

AVOID POWERPOINT AT ALL COSTS!

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The first time I heard the phrase, “Death by PowerPoint,” was last semester by a fellow V3 Communications collegue. We were preparing for our end of the semester presentation, explaining the work we accomplished for our clients, and she told me we were going to use Prezi as a forum for preparing content. It was simple, visually appealing, and was effective for delivering our message.

It has also donned on me, that I dread going to classes where professors use PowerPoint as a main use of lecturing. From my freshman year even until my second semester of my senior year, professors have been using PowerPoint. Each slide is usually text heavy, boring, and everything the professor lectures about is printed on the slide. Does this not eliminate the need for the professor speaking about it? I believe that an image, or perhaps a few words speaks more than 100 words, and allows for simple messaging. I can almost guarantee that I am usually asleep by the third slide, unless I am hiked up on Red Bull. It takes much effort to get through this outdated presentation forum.

As PR Campaigns students, we have been instructed to use Prezi to prepare our final presentation, and I’m actually excited about this!

But what is so amazing about Prezi and why is it overpowering PowerPoint?

  • Intuitive and extremely visual
  • Zooming sketches on a visual napkin
  • Tells a story without using boring slides
  • Text-light
  • Contains mapping and pathways
  • Transitions take viewers on a visual journey
  • Templates are simple
  • Video capabilities
  • THE BEST THING: IT’S NOT BORING

Though PowerPoint is still the current way of presenting in most school projects, lectures, and work environments, Prezi will make its way virtually into every presentation venue and take PowerPoint out (hopefully)!

Here’s an interesting and informative video that takes you on a Prezi journey, from start to finish:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M0kriH9dKzk

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5 Responses to Avoiding Death by PowerPoint

  1. srugeris says:

    Finding good pictures to accurately portray a story is the hardest part about using Presi. Sometimes the ones I want are under copyright protection, or the sizes are off. I think I’m going to eventually invest in a membership subscription to one of those pay sites to download the high quality ones. It looks professional when all the pictures really compliment the presentation. Does anyone know of a good website to download images for free?

    • penglert says:

      Many of the image hosting sites that require payment have a free option they don’t advertise much, and only requires a member sign up. Try Googling “free stock images” and you will find a slew of options. Good luck!

      Rachel – I completely agree that Prezi is the way to go. It’s such a great tool and what is surprising to me is that outside of the Cronkite school, no one has ever heard of it. While discussing a group project for another class outside of the Journalism school I suggested utilizing Prezi and they all reacted with what seemed to be fear. I was so shocked! I have to question how Prezi is, or if they plan on introducing their product so it becomes more “mainstream”.

  2. Pingback: Avoiding Death by PowerPoint – Textifying « PPT Converter

  3. a_hundza says:

    I have also fallen in love with Prezi. It amazes me that after so many lectures on how to make our presentations interesting our mentors still continue to make us suffer through horrible, boring powerpoints.

    I agree that there are difficulties with Prezi, but overall the positive points are still enough to make me hold out as it evolves.

  4. Dawn Gilpin says:

    At the risk of coming across as defensive, what with being one of those professors who uses PowerPoint-style software (technically KeyNote, but the basic concept is the same), I have to step up and note that the presentation tool one chooses does not, on its own, dictate whether a presentation will be effective. It’s all in how you use it.

    I think Prezi is a fine tool, and I encourage students to experiment with it, but having sat through some awful Prezi presentations I can guarantee that just using the software isn’t enough. If you don’t have a good sense of visual balance between text and images, or don’t understand the use of color, or choose cheesy clipart and too-quick transitions, then your presentation will suffer whether you use Prezi or PowerPoint. And if you do have all those things, I would argue that you can probably do a good job in either.

    I haven’t done much with Prezi myself because I think that its dynamic nature is best suited to certain kinds of material over others. I’m not sure it’s really the best choice for teaching, for example–or at least, not for my lecturing style. I need to play with it some more to decide. I can definitely see using it in the future for some research presentations, but the choice will be dictated by the type of content I need to present, and the audience… the same decisions that should be made for any communication context.

    (Oh, and for free images, try looking for work covered by Creative Commons license, which often just requires attribution. There’s a special Flickr tag for that purpose.)

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