Like most people, I’ve been using tools like Powerpoint for more years than I care to remember. The end effect is that when I start thinking about presenting an idea I subconsciously drift into structuring this as slides in my head: a progression on screens with sets of words on them that wind from an introduction, inexorably (or insufferably) to a conclusion.
Aware of the built-in formulaic tedium of this kind of presentation, when I can, I ditch slides or perhaps use a single slide or very short intro at meetings to set a context because that is what everyone expects and then leap off into an animated conversation or interactive technology demo.
This approach works well for a product demonstration or an off the cuff opinion session, but it isn’t so good for more formal presentations. These need good structure and supporting facts to convey information accurately (and lets face it to be taken seriously) so it used to be back to Powerpoint for these.
Every once in a while, a technology comes along that adds an extra dimension to the way that we represent information to the extent that it encourages better thinking. I’ve been playing with a tool called Prezi recently and it seems to offer a much better alternative to slide decks for some things. Take a look at this Prezi which is a 2-minute primer on the UC and the Cloud Whitepaper I wrote last month:
Prezi has been around for a few years and I’ve been watching their progress. They started as an interesting idea which looked a bit clunky at the edges and not quite complete enough to use in anger in a commercial setting. The first implementations lacked basic features like the ability to customise the colours used or add a corporate logo, and there still are quite a few developments needed that would make it more useable for mainstream work but I think that it is already good enough to provide a fun alternative to traditional slide decks for many of the things we do.
So what do you think, is Prezi a superficial gimmick or should I switch to using it for sessions like the VoIPCortex Technical Training days?