Business Design Strategy

Cause & Effective: Use Prezi to clarify your message

Duarte has a very special spot in our heart for cause-related work. Aside from allowing us to think outside the box and reach a global audience, it  makes us feel all warm and fuzzy inside, which is always nice.

Thankfully, thought leaders are neck-deep in presentations. And over the years, we’ve learned that a presentation isn’t just standing up and speaking to slides. Whether enticing investors, recruiting volunteers, or raising awareness in the community, thought leaders present information in some form or another at every step along the way. And it’s not always on a podium, in front of an audience.

A cause that recently came to Duarte’s attention is called Global Citizen Year. A brief description below outlines the goals of the program.

About Global Citizen Year

Each year, Global Citizen Year (GCY) selects a Corps of high school seniors, and supports them through apprenticeships with social enterprises in Asia, Africa and Latin America during a “bridge year” before college. Students enter college with the ability to speak a second language, a clearer sense of themselves, and a global perspective. Their mission: prepare the next generation to address the global challenges of the 21st century.

Their mission is well-stated, but during pitch meetings, they were met with same questions, and apprehensions time and time again. Speakers had trouble conveying that GCY is an integral step in American education experience,  not a “break” or an “alternative track”. They continued to hear the resounding refrain:

“I really wish I could just see this visually, it would be much easier to explain and be much more powerful!”

GCY recognized that their statement alone was not conveying their message clearly. Typically, this is when most people would open PowerPoint… but GCY went a slightly different route. Below is an explanation from GCY’s Wil Keenan, about how they were able to solve their problem:

“When Abby, the founder of GCY, returned from Pop!Tech with a copy of slide:ology and fundamentals of visual storytelling, she sent her team to the drawing board. As their new media director was looking for other utilities as alternatives to PowerPoint, he stumbled on Prezi. Prezi seemed to be the perfect solution because it was, non linear, it utilized depth of field for emphasis, and could easily navigate an audience through illustrations. After watching a sample presentation on Prezi, GCY was sold that it would be a powerful tool to guide key audiences through their 9-month program model, while keeping everything in the context of the status quo – Americans going directly to college. After crafting an illustration that highlighted the core components of the Global Citizen Year experience, they took the drawing to Prezi, inserted text, and crafted a path:

http://globalcitizenyear.org/program/gcy-experience/

In a similar fashion, the team at GCY knew they wanted to use the components of the illustration to address the core questions and concerns of their applicant pool. So, they used Prezi to walk the applicants through 3 conversations that covered common concerns among applicants:

http://globalcitizenyear.org/apply/deciding-to-join/

Prezi was a great solution for a couple of reasons. First of all, the Prezi environment is able to clearly illustrate the specific benefits of their program, while remaining in the context of the bigger picture; which is that students ultimately attend college.

Also, the emphasis created by the macro and micro levels of focus the allows the presentation to stand alone more effectively, which in turn allows the message to be distributed more efficiently (like, for example, on our blog.) The Prezi is able to lives on their website, and now on our blog speaking to their points without saying a word… Makes spreading the word about your cause all the easier.

If you haven’t used Prezi, check it out. And if you haven’t checked out Global Citizen Year, you need to. And hurry, because they are currently recruiting their next class of GCY Fellows, and the final application deadline is May 15, 2010!

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  • Really interesting cause.

    I can’t help but feel that the idea of Prezi is better than the reality.The controls feel a bit ‘clunky’ – it woudn’t go where I wanted it to go.

    Did you try pptPlex? Similar idea, from Microsoft.

  • Really interesting cause.

    I can’t help but feel that the idea of Prezi is better than the reality.The controls feel a bit ‘clunky’ – it woudn’t go where I wanted it to go.

    Did you try pptPlex? Similar idea, from Microsoft.

  • Nancy,

    I question the statement that prezi is “non linear”. It’s every bit as linear as PPT or Keynote. You still follow a path created by the creator. And any choices you get to make are similar to choices that can be included in PPT or Keynote.

    In fact, from a cognitive perspective, I wonder if the added flashy components of prezi don’t distract from the message of the presentation.

    Just wondering aloud.

    Chris

    • Well, it can be lineair if you want, it can be non lineair if you choose not to use a set path. Although this works best when presenting on a touchscreen, in my experience, otherwise the presentation can get pretty messy (clicking mouses etc.).

      The same goes for the flashy stuff; you can choose to add more effects, a lot of panning and zooming, or keep this stuff to a minimum and let your audience focus on you and your story. I guess I like the fact that in Prezi you get a lot of freedom making these choices.

      • I agree. Prezi can be both linear and non-linear. We’re going to do a follow-up post on Prezi soon. There’s a lot of abuse of Prezi where it creates so much distraction it masks the meaning. I recently saw a couple Prezi’s done very successfully that I’m hoping to get a copy of and showcase.

  • Nancy,

    I question the statement that prezi is “non linear”. It’s every bit as linear as PPT or Keynote. You still follow a path created by the creator. And any choices you get to make are similar to choices that can be included in PPT or Keynote.

    In fact, from a cognitive perspective, I wonder if the added flashy components of prezi don’t distract from the message of the presentation.

    Just wondering aloud.

    Chris

    • Well, it can be lineair if you want, it can be non lineair if you choose not to use a set path. Although this works best when presenting on a touchscreen, in my experience, otherwise the presentation can get pretty messy (clicking mouses etc.).

      The same goes for the flashy stuff; you can choose to add more effects, a lot of panning and zooming, or keep this stuff to a minimum and let your audience focus on you and your story. I guess I like the fact that in Prezi you get a lot of freedom making these choices.

      • I agree. Prezi can be both linear and non-linear. We’re going to do a follow-up post on Prezi soon. There’s a lot of abuse of Prezi where it creates so much distraction it masks the meaning. I recently saw a couple Prezi’s done very successfully that I’m hoping to get a copy of and showcase.

  • Wil Keenan

    Chris,

    These examples are linear because they have a pre-designated path, but Prezi’s functionality allows a presenter to step outside of the path – zooming in and out, exploring what may be a complex system in great detail, while also keeping everything important in context – your objectives, etc.

    Some people do find the speed of the zoom across large intervals to be jarring and distracting. That can be avoided, pretty easily. You will notice that I had that problem here: http://prezi.com/0aqyama4nfz2/illustrations/ – that was when I first experimented with the tool.

    Thoughts?

  • Wil Keenan

    Chris,

    These examples are linear because they have a pre-designated path, but Prezi’s functionality allows a presenter to step outside of the path – zooming in and out, exploring what may be a complex system in great detail, while also keeping everything important in context – your objectives, etc.

    Some people do find the speed of the zoom across large intervals to be jarring and distracting. That can be avoided, pretty easily. You will notice that I had that problem here: http://prezi.com/0aqyama4nfz2/illustrations/ – that was when I first experimented with the tool.

    Thoughts?

  • Hi Paula,

    Thanks for this really interesting story.

    We believe that Prezi helps you to create better presentations in 3 ways:

    A. With Prezi you can see the big picture and zoom into the details.

    B. Prezi’s spatial layout helps the audience to remember more of your topic since for most of us it’s easier to remember objects placed spatially then in a long slideshow.

    C. As a presenter, you can avoid long boring monologues (death by bullet points), and encourage audience involvement by moving across the canvas.

    Chris, the path in prezi is optional. You might want to add it for a conference presentation because your time limit is linear too. For the best experience try out using prezi without a path on a touchscreen laptop.

  • Hi Paula,

    Thanks for this really interesting story.

    We believe that Prezi helps you to create better presentations in 3 ways:

    A. With Prezi you can see the big picture and zoom into the details.

    B. Prezi’s spatial layout helps the audience to remember more of your topic since for most of us it’s easier to remember objects placed spatially then in a long slideshow.

    C. As a presenter, you can avoid long boring monologues (death by bullet points), and encourage audience involvement by moving across the canvas.

    Chris, the path in prezi is optional. You might want to add it for a conference presentation because your time limit is linear too. For the best experience try out using prezi without a path on a touchscreen laptop.

  • What a coincidence!

    I just saw a presentation last week using Prezi.

    Awesome presentation tool!

    Thanks!

  • What a coincidence!

    I just saw a presentation last week using Prezi.

    Awesome presentation tool!

    Thanks!

  • This whole Wikileaks fiasco is pretty crazy. You should check out http://voteonwikileaks.com. It’s a recently launched website that seems to be going viral. They got something like 50,000 visitors in the first 24 hours of launch. It’s sort of like a crowdsourced collection of arguments against and for Wikileaks. As a blog owner, you’d probably find some of the opinions there a good read.

  • This whole Wikileaks fiasco is pretty crazy. You should check out http://voteonwikileaks.com. It’s a recently launched website that seems to be going viral. They got something like 50,000 visitors in the first 24 hours of launch. It’s sort of like a crowdsourced collection of arguments against and for Wikileaks. As a blog owner, you’d probably find some of the opinions there a good read.

  • Teg Griffiths

    I think it is awesome that new tools arrive to change the way we want to present and share. Prezi still falls under the umbrella of another tool waiting to be used badly. I attended your webinar a few days ago and I have had a transformation in my thinking on how I create a presentation. I am still a beginner and fumbling with these new insights but I would like to thank you.
    Now onto Prezi, I liked it and my first few attempts actually took me longer mainly because being kinda non-linear (you have a choice), planning was way more important. Then I came crashing down to earth, most of my presentations are for a technical product and I am struggling to make a case for prezi based on the traditional way we construct our slides. We are also very template and process centric, innovation though welcome is slow if not impossible to apply. I am instead going to focus on changing mindset first and then maybe cool tools will become more acceptable.
    Have you ever reviewed pptPlex from Office Labs, it is a beta product and allows some of the features like being able to view your whole slide deck in presentation mode and zoom into details, and yes real zoom where you could focus in on one letter. It also allows you to embed real documents in a slide that behave as if they were in their native apps, only MS Office files though. So a slide could be an Excel file and you can interact with it from within the presentation, Word behaves as if you were turning pages in a book.

    Thanks for the opportunity to comment and share, and thanks once again for opening my eyes.

    • This is great Teg. We love pptPlex here. It lets you move around spatially similar to Prezi. I’ll be writing a blog post soon about how to use Prezi effectively.

  • Teg Griffiths

    I think it is awesome that new tools arrive to change the way we want to present and share. Prezi still falls under the umbrella of another tool waiting to be used badly. I attended your webinar a few days ago and I have had a transformation in my thinking on how I create a presentation. I am still a beginner and fumbling with these new insights but I would like to thank you.
    Now onto Prezi, I liked it and my first few attempts actually took me longer mainly because being kinda non-linear (you have a choice), planning was way more important. Then I came crashing down to earth, most of my presentations are for a technical product and I am struggling to make a case for prezi based on the traditional way we construct our slides. We are also very template and process centric, innovation though welcome is slow if not impossible to apply. I am instead going to focus on changing mindset first and then maybe cool tools will become more acceptable.
    Have you ever reviewed pptPlex from Office Labs, it is a beta product and allows some of the features like being able to view your whole slide deck in presentation mode and zoom into details, and yes real zoom where you could focus in on one letter. It also allows you to embed real documents in a slide that behave as if they were in their native apps, only MS Office files though. So a slide could be an Excel file and you can interact with it from within the presentation, Word behaves as if you were turning pages in a book.

    Thanks for the opportunity to comment and share, and thanks once again for opening my eyes.

    • This is great Teg. We love pptPlex here. It lets you move around spatially similar to Prezi. I’ll be writing a blog post soon about how to use Prezi effectively.

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