Prezi is a new web-based tool that enables you to arrange and present your ideas in a highly visual, compelling format. It shares many of the advantages of mind maps, while taking non-linear thinking in some exciting new directions. It can even be used to present your ideas in a mindmap-like format, with a central topic and subtopics connected via arrows.
It’s hard to explain what this browser-based application is and what it does. But it’s much easier to show it. Here is a prezi about mind mapping that someone shared in Prezi’s online gallery. It’s typical of a presentation created in this unique medium. To advance the presentation below, simply click on the right-facing arrow:
How it works
Prezi uses your content to create a story line, and then enables you and your audience to zoom in, zoom out and move through its elements in an amazing way. It enables you to show the bigger pictures and the details at the same time, on a single canvas. To create a prezi, you lay out the elements of your story – words, pictures and other elements – on the canvas; a “path” tool lets you select the order in which the presentation will “fly” through them.
In addition to presenting your ideas, Prezi can also be used for mind mapping, note taking and sharing information. Files created in Prezi can be embedded in a web page (as I’ve done above), published to social media sites, shared on a blog or posted to the Prezi “explore” library. This last resource, available by clicking on the “explore” tab at www.prezi.com, is an excellent way to see what others have created – and, by extension – what it’s possible to create with this powerful tool.
You can get started with a free Prezi account – a great way to explore this tool and whether or not it fits with your work style. It offers limited storage and places a Prezi watermark on each of the presentations you create. Still, it’s a good way to get started with it. A basic paid subscription to Prezi costs US$59 per year (less than $5 per month) and includes 500MB of online storage space. A Pro version is also available for a $159 annual fee that gives you four times as much storage, as well as access to a downloadable desktop version of Prezi.
Why is Prezi well suited to mind mapping?
Like conventional mind maps, Prezi enables you to see your information in chunks or elements, and to depict the relationships between them. It enables you to present multiple levels of detail, and even adds elements of space, movement and time to the information you need to capture or communicate. In addition, Prezi – like mind mapping – does an excellent job of supporting non-linear thinking, which is key to exploring a topic or idea in its myriad of details and possibilities. The unlimited canvas of this application facilitates letting your mind take your map where it wants to go. You can easily add images, web links and even multimedia files to presentations created in Prezi. Finally, like mind maps, Prezi helps your ideas to stand out and command attention.
An excellent guide to Prezi
A great guide to this Brave New World of visual thinking and presentation is Stephanie Diamond’s new book, Prezi for Dummies. I’ve known Stephanie for a number of years via my Mind Mapping Software Blog. She’s an incredibly smart person, an ardent user of mind maps for marketing, and I implicitly trust her judgment. If she says something is important, then you better pay attention. She has written a practical, fun-to-read guide to all things Prezi. Her breezy prose and numerous examples help to demystify this fascinating application, which requires you to throw out your existing presentation mindset and to rethink how you gather, arrange and present information and ideas.
If you’re looking for a new way to present your ideas and explore how mind mapping works on this unique platform, why not sign up for a free basic Prezi account? You may also want to take a look at Stephanie’s book, which is an excellent “how-to” guide to this powerful and flexible tool.