Using Prezi to give a tech talk

On Thursday, I gave my first talk about Drupal! Fito Kahn organizes the Austin Drupal Newbies Meetup, and we had lunch with him at the Southwest Drupal Summit in Houston last month. I was feeling pretty inspired from watching the speakers at the Summit, so I thought I might try to give a talk myself on Displaying Recent Tweets with Drupal using the twitter_pull module.

I didn’t want to have a set of boring slides with bullet points out of PowerPoint, so I thought I’d look at a few other options - most of the speakers at the Drupal Summit had great presentations and were well prepared! Browsing through the top presentations at SlideShare is a great way to see what’s effective without having to give up your Saturday to a conference.

I was pretty excited about 280 Slides, from what I read online. Unfortunately, when I loaded it, it looked exactly like PowerPoint! Scratch that. My next thought was to use Apple’s Keynote, but then after some searching on Hacker News, I saw a few references to Prezi.

Prezi is a completely different type of tool - not slide based, instead it relies on spatial organization and relative size for your presentation. This makes organizing your presentation much easier than trying to lay it out on slides. I’m always interested in information design, and Prezi totally changes the way your presentation is organized. You can drill down into different segments of your presentation and then pop back up - everything is in context.

It’s kind of hard to explain why Prezi is so great - I made my tech talk “I’ve got Twitter in my Drupal” presentation in Prezi. I certainly don’t have everything down with Prezi just yet - there’s a lot of tweaking you can do to make your presentations pop, but I’m very satisfied with what I could accomplish in a few hours.