I came across a new presentation solution which has the potential to change the way presentations are created. PowerPoint has served us well for years and while many have complained about how this Microsoft software is responsible for putting more people to sleep than tryptophan and melatonin combined, I think presenters themselves could be part of the problem.
But maybe the detractors have a point and better tools will make better presenters.
That is the hope of Flash-based software/service Prezi and thanks to Robin Wauters at TechCrunch I learned about it this morning and have had a chance to look at some of the sample presentations and play with the editor as well. A few examples worth checking out are this one which shows just how graphics can really become a larger part of telling an overall story and this one where you can see how a great deal of text can be organized fairly cleanly.
Here is a demo of the software/service in action
The company calls Prezi a zooming presentation editor and the description is accurate as a presentation seems to flow more cohesively via the presentation of numerous free-flowing ideas instead of being linear in nature.
If for example I was giving a presentation on HD Voice I might have a central theme which discussed how this technology is a natural evolution of telephony and I could have a few surrounding slides which focus on companies in the space such as Polycom, AudioCodes, Microsoft, TI, GIPs, etc. I could choose to have the presentation come back to the central theme occasionally as I explore each company and what they are doing in the space. So you could say Prezi works more like the human brain which is multidimensional and more interconnected.
You can try a free version which contains the company logo or 39 euros per year gives you more storage space and the ability to share your presentations online. For 119 euros you get a Mac and Windows desktop application which allows you to design and edit presentations offline - on an airplane perhaps?
The desktop Prezi Editor
With any new software there is a learning curve and as I played with the editor I realized although there is an intuitive interface, I was a bit tentative about trying the service myself because I am so familiar with PowerPoint. But over time I may just get up the nerve to spend some time learning it and perhaps the next time you see me onstage I will be demoing Prezi in all its glory.