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Captivating Your Audience with Prezi and PowerPoint

Captivating Your Audience with Prezi and PowerPoint

It’s not “what” you say, it’s “how” you say it. Only seven percent of what we say is retained when we use words alone. A whopping ninety-three percent is received through non-verbal channels – therein lies the problem. Many presenters believe using more text in their presentations directly relates to how well their message is received and retained. I can assure you, verbosity is not the answer to getting your point across; you do not have to be eternal to be effective. One only needs to listen to a few TED Talks to hear an effective message without copious text or time.

Understanding how to choose, and use, the right presentation tool can help you engage, captivate, and connect more powerfully with all of your future audiences. Since both PowerPoint and Prezi have pros and cons – from form to function – it will ultimately come down to personal preferences, your audience and desired outcome. Whether you are preparing a budget presentation, or working on a school project, it is important to understand the differences between the two.


PowerPoint is recognized as the go-to, universal standard when it comes to presentation software. It seems to have “always” been around and is compatible on most platforms, even Mac. It is best used when you want to deliver a clean, professional presentation with a linear theme, which logically progresses through a series of slides, and wraps up with a concluding point. A few thoughts for the PowerPoint user:

  • User-friendly
  • Slide handout option
  • Insert hyperlinks easily
  • Familiar slide themes can be redundant
  • Primarily clip art stock graphics and images
  • Limited movement during presentations


Unlike the PowerPoint slides, Prezi uses an open, zoomable canvas to show relationships between big picture and fine details. Presentations in Prezi are non-linear for presenters who may like to transition seamlessly throughout the presentation to cover different ideas. Several key considerations to keep in mind when using Prezi for your presentation:

  • Zoomable, open canvas
  • Free, with a public account
  • Cloud-based service
  • More design freedom (consider your audience when selecting the design)
  • Frequent, and possibly unannounced, software changes
  • Internet required, unless it is made portable

Regardless of which option you choose, it is more about how you use it than the tool itself. As the presenter, you should be the star of the show, not your presentation. Know your core message and audience to allow your presentation to provide support and highlight your message. If your audience has to choose between reading your presentation and listening to you, one of you is not needed.

Pollock, Jameo 005191725Remember, it’s not “what” you said, it’s “how” you said it. With the right tool, patience, and practice, you will be on your way to becoming a more effective and memorable presenter. Now go forth and own the next stage you’re on.

Authored by: Jameo D. Pollock, Open Enrollment Coordinator, Community College Workforce Alliance


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