Powerpoint may not be the mind-numbing, soul-killing, paralyzer of armies that it’s made out to be. Maybe. But the fact that it has become the default for almost every presentation you’re likely to see (including second grade show-and-tell) means that its novelty is long gone and it’s rarely able to surprise us and grab our attention anymore.
For something that’s a little different and stands a better chance of engaging your audience, try Prezi (http://prezi.com/). It gives you a huge– they say infinite– canvas to play with and the ability to lay out your ideas in any way you like by moving, panning, and zooming between them. The result is that you can easily create stories and metaphors for you message that are more likely to attract the attention of your audience than they would be in Powerpoint. If viewing Powerpoint is like watching slides, Prezi is more like watching a movie.
I’ll be writing more about Prezi soon. For a taste, watch the TED talk by James Geary below. The effects he uses aren’t flashy or gratuitous– they’re just effective.
Or try out Prezi for yourself. It’s not the answer to all of your presenting needs, but it’s definitely something that should be in your toolkit. One of the best things about Prezi? There’s a version you can use for free.