Author Tony Buzan first wrote about MindMapping back in the ’60′s. Strangely enough, that’s when a fictional Don Draper gave us the Carousel. MindMapping, according to the real Buzan, is about image and association. It’s a meta-language that geniuses across history (think Leonardo) have tapped into by connecting thoughts with images. A typical MindMap has a central theme, and radiating from it, a series of connected words and images. For Buzan and many users of mindmapping, its a way to take notes and connect ideas that fits more perfectly with the brain’s way of doing things than a typical list or piece of prose.
In After PowerPoint, What’s next? SlideKlowd I discussed PowerPoint’s central “next slide please” model, and specific problems that PowerPoint has enabled: Monologuing, Disconnected thinking and Ugly slides. SlideKlowd helps avoid monologuing. What about disconnected thinking? PowerPoint is ubiquitous and linear. Ubiquity has benefits, so does linear, but linear thinking is limiting. That’s where MindMaps, and the PowerPoint equivalent of a MindMap, Prezi, come in.
The oldest and probably most popular of the three technologies is Prezi. It tackles a problem you see a lot in presentations, disconnected thinking. That happens when you’re more clear on the deadline and topic than the goal. You have to put a deck together by Thursday, so a slide from Bob, some data from Carol, that great opening from Gopal, a couple of sales slides and presto you have a deck. Now a little bit of winging it and you can get through the meeting. Unfortunately systemic thinking and logic aren’t top of the list of course requirements today, so the chances of running into a presenter that connects the dots from 30,000 ft to what you have to do today is small.
Prezi is a zooming presentation editor and viewer. It’s cloud based and widely popular with over 18 million users. If you haven’t seen it before, think animated MindMap on an endless canvas. You can zoom in and out, move up, down and sideways, and its all connected. Chances are it’s getting a “Wow” from first timers seeing a prezi. I don’t love it. My major beef is that unlike tools like SlideShare or SlideKlowd, to make a Prezi I have to use the Prezi editor. It’s one more thing to learn, and since it hasn’t been around as long as PowerPoint, it has limitations like font choice and editing visuals in a Prezi.
That said, if you do use Prezi, get over the learning curve and other minor irritations, it is great for connecting thinking, taking the audience on a journey through your world.
A wow factor. Connecting the dots and telling a story. Good for the Storyteller and Coach presenter types.
Watch out for:
There is a learning curve, and if you are presenting at a large conference, make sure the AV guys know that you’re going to use Prezi, there’s a bit of finagling they have to do to make sure it works.
Up next: Ugly slides and HaikuDeck.
One interesting update. In researching this, Geetesh Bajaj of Indezine.com noted “Microsoft already had a free add-in to do Prezi style panning and zooming — this was some years ago. Don’t see them supporting, this add-in, pptPlex in PowerPoint 2013 yet – Office Labs: pptPlex”
- After PowerPoint, What’s Next? SlideKlowd. (makeapowerfulpoint.com)
Gavin is a founding partner at fassforward consulting group. He blogs about PowerPoint, Presenting, Communication and Message Discipline at makeapowerfulpoint.com. You can follow him on twitter @powerfulpoint.