The Best Presentations Ever …? Revisited

Posted by Charlie on 29 November, 2011

Level – Upper Intermediate

Users of Prezi pass the five million mark: is this business tool changing the way we deliver presentations?

Last month, the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies announced its list of ‘Top 100 Tools for Learning, 2011’. What made me take notice was that fact that Prezi had risen to number 7. PowerPoint, on the other hand, had slipped down the chart, to number 19.

What exactly is a Prezi? It’s a tool that allows you to deliver a presentation in a ‘non-linear’ way. You can zoom in on any piece of information at random, be it a picture or piece of text. I first saw a presenter use Prezi last year, and I was very impressed.

With PowerPoint, we tend to think in a linear way, one slide after another. With Prezi, the presenter can focus on things as they come up. This means they can respond to the audience, and give a more interactive presentation.

I’ve lost count of the number of PowerPoint slides I have seen that are packed full of text, details, dimensions and statistics. I know that the audience will be suffering from ‘death by PowerPoint’!

As the number of Prezi users worldwide soars past the five million mark, it seems like the idea of ‘zooming’ presentations is becoming much more popular. The original e-lesson ‘The best presentations ever …?’discusses the idea of breaking the rules, just like Prezi is breaking traditional linear rules of presentation.

However, we are still just talking about presentation tools. Great presenters still need confidence and, above all, charisma. They also aim to be impactful and memorable. Ah well –  it looks like I’m going to have to try out Prezi myself!

Some questions you may wish to discuss with your students are:

  • Have you ever given a Prezi; if not, would you like to try?
  • Is there a presentation on TED.com which has particularly impressed you? If so, why?
  • Think about the last conference you went to. Describe an excellent presentation and a poor one; give reasons for your choices.

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