5 Tips for Using Prezi in Presentations

by Sara Vazquez Shaw

Speeches and presentations are already nerve-wracking, and without good visuals, they're practically an obstacle course of awkward fumbling. Prezi, an amazingly intuitive PowerPoint alternative, offers students a clean, simple way to tell their story and guide audience members to a conclusion. Here are 5 tips for getting the most out of this versatile - and free! - tool during your next presentation:

Remember your visuals

If your Prezi show is intended to support a simultaneous speech, avoid overtly spelling things out in visuals before you have a chance to verbally explain them. Use "visual thinking" icons instead - such as a seedling to represent growth, or a crowd to represent teamwork - to help align your audience with your point as you make it out loud.

Go inter-dimensional

Prezi has both 2D and 3D template options, so experiment with your text and images to find one that really makes your work "pop" on the screen. Consider how you'll be using Prezi as you speak: will you need to refer directly to each slide? If so, opt for a 3D template that allows you to scroll in at certain points for added dramatic emphasis.

Add a splash of colour

Whether it's matching your background and font colour to a logo or using colours to provoke emotions, such as red for excitement or danger, Prezi offers several customisation options. Even if you decide to stick with your layout's default options, play around with its settings first to be sure your layout looks perfect before committing.

Try a hybrid layout

Have a YouTube video of your experiment or concept you'd like to show as well? Embed it directly in your Prezi layout to prevent fumbling with a mouse as you're trying to move through your presentation. This feature is useful for adding levity with short, comedic skits or for showing case studies with longer videos.

Remember: it's a tool, not the star

With such a smooth interface and great results, it's easy to let your Prezi steal the spotlight. Your work and words, however, need to steal it back. Don't let the novelty of this powerful presentation software usurp your message and hijack your audiences' attention. If you have a section of your presentation that requires your audience to focus on you, simply hit "B" on your keyboard - the Prezi screen will black out, ensuring all eyes are on you. When you're ready to start the Prezi again, just hit "B" once more. This feature is also useful when you're posing trivia questions, interacting with the audience, or testing others on what was just presented.

Fast, easy, and attractive on the screen, Prezi has ensured countless presentations have gone off without a hitch. If you're considering incorporating it into your next speech, be sure to familiarise yourself with all it has to offer and keep your spoken message as the centrepiece to retain credibility and audience attention.