Presentation Resources: Prezi vs. PowerPoint

By February 18, 2014SpeakerToolbox

In recent months, an increasing number of clients are asking, “What do you think about Prezi as an alternative to PowerPoint”?

The truth is, whether you chose Prezi, PowerPoint or any type of media support the goal is the same…to maximize the impact of your message. Keeping that in mind, arguments can be made for both; the question is, which presentation software will ensure you hit a home run?

To help you decide, let’s look at the pros and cons of Prezi vs. PowerPoint.

PPTPowerPoint (Mac and Windows)

As Jim Harvey, MD at Allcow Communications, points out in a video blog post, “PowerPoint is simple, reliable and designed to meet all the needs of the average business person preparing for a presentation.” In fact, PowerPoint has been the default presentation software since Microsoft released it in 1990. I can still recall being on a show-site, conducting a slide review and everyone being in awe of the possibilities that it offered. With the release of PowerPoint 2013 and the ability for it to be used on tablets, PowerPoint is likely to continue being the go-to program for many more years. 

PreziPrezi (Windows/Mac/iOS/Web)

First introduced in 2009, Prezi is an on-line presentation tool that is growing in popularity. Sleeker, sexier than PowerPoint, Prezi is designed to create a dynamic experience for your audience. Rather than clicking though slides, this tool takes your audience on a visual journey as you move about a large canvas in a non-linear fashion.  The animation capabilities create excitement, allowing you to zoom-in for emphasis; zoom out to see the big picture and then “pan” to expand or move to the next idea.

If you have never experienced a Prezi, click here for a great example. 

Visuals as a crutch
Sure, Prezi and PowerPoint both offer bells and whistles that can be fun, but information overload is almost guaranteed if you forget why you’re using visuals in the first place.  

Before deciding which presentation software to use, be sure you have invested the time and effort to clarify and organize your message. Once you are confident in what you are saying, step back and ask, “What’s the best way to maximize the impact of my message?”  Use media only if it boosts the power of your presentation.

For more comparisons download the SpeakerToolbox: Prezi Vs. PowerPoint.

Please share your thoughts and experiences!


Want to assess the value of the visuals you are using in your next presentation?

Join the discussion 5 Comments

  • Stephanie Scotti says:

    Thanks Marshall, all great points and appreciate your professional thought and strategies that people should consider.

  • From my view there are two big factors in the PowerPoint vs Prezi decision:
    1. Linear vs Non-Linear: Prezi is a powerful nonlinear presentation tool. If you are looking for an infinitely large digital whiteboard that you can pre-populate with information and jump around, zoom in and out of during your presentation, then Prezi is your tool. If you are presenting a linear story – PowerPoint is your tool.
    2. Sharing your presentation or distribution: If you need to share your presentation with others to work on it, or review it before or after your presentation, not many people have or are familiar with Prezi. It only has a small portion of the 5% of the presentation market that PowerPoint does not have. So, if you have a team that needs to contribute to the presentation, they all must be able to work with Prezi. PowerPoint is easy to share and distribute because everyone has PowerPoint.

  • […] Presentation Resources: Prezi vs. PPT […]

  • Stephanie Scotti says:

    I understand . . . after you “give it a whirl” please share your experience. I find for most it can be a love or hate relationship. Thanks for your comment, Rob!

  • Hi, Stephanie: I’ve played around with Prezi some but have not used it in a presentation yet. The one thing that gives me pause is that it’s billed as a great tool for non-linear thinkers, and I am hopelessly linear! But I should give it a full whirl at some point to be sure.

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