You wouldn’t think that a simple thing like changing the Prezi starting point would make such a difference for Prezi users, but it does. Before Prezi Next incorporated this feature, all presentations began with a view of the entire presentation called the overview. From there, Prezi moves on to the first topic and its subtopics. After that, it returns again to the same overview. Prezi calls this a Smart Structure. It provides structure but it also limits you in creativity. Changing the Prezi starting point let’s you break away from this default sequence. It opens up a variety of options for kicking off your presentation.
Hide Your Overview
The first image your audience sees sets the stage for the rest of your presentation. Without changing the Prezi starting point, the default first image is the overview. This is view reveals your entire presentation on screen. Your audience can see everything in the overview. There will be times when you don’t want to give away this much information so early in your presentation. You might want to start with a small introductory image before exposing the big picture. When you set the Prezi starting point inside a topic, you can zoom out to the overview to create a dramatic visual effect.
Reveal the Context of your Content
The feature that most sets Prezi apart from other tools is the unique zooming transitions. Prezi’s three-dimensional structure is most effective when you put high-level concepts at the topic level. Topics are seen on the top layer of the Prezi structure. Supporting details for these high-level concepts are best placed in subtopics in the next layer down. The zooming transitions move the viewer’s perspective down deeper to see the details, and brings them back up to the surface to see the high-level concepts.
Transitions between the Prezi layers help your audience visualize the context of your presentation. When you change the Prezi starting point to a topic, you’ll zoom your audience up to the overview after viewing the detail located deeper down. When they up zoom to the surface they’ll be able to see the relationship between what’s in the topic and what’s in the overview. For example, you can start on a topic that shows the first step in a series. Then, when it zooms out to the overview, the viewer discovers how that first step fits into the whole process.
Create a Surprise Reveal Special Effect
You can surprise your audience by postponing the appearance of Prezi overview until the later in the presentation. We call this the Surprise Reveal. By changing the Prezi starting point you can reveal the overview when you’re ready to expose the bigger picture or the context. Not knowing that they are looking at a smaller portion of something else, the audience gets a surprise when the bigger picture is revealed. This is a novel way to kick off your presentation. It can make a big impact on your viewer. It is sure to gain your audience’s attention and let them know they are in for something interesting and exciting to watch.
Use a Title Slide for the Prezi Starting Point
As a speaker, you’ll want to control the sequence and pace of your presentation. This includes your introduction. At a conference, you won’t begin your presentation until the audience is ready, or until you’ve been introduced. If the overview is visible during this waiting time, your audience gets a sneak peak of your whole presentation. A title slide hides the overview until you’re ready to begin. Format your first topic as you would a PowerPoint title slide. Then change the Prezi starting point to that first topic. Your audience will see this “title slide” while they are waiting for you to begin. When you’re ready to kick things off, move off the title slide and advance through the rest of your presentation. Another effective way to use this is to start your presentation with a powerful statement – or hook – then zoom out to display the rest of your prezi.
Customize Your Title Slide
When you’ve got a great prezi you’ll want to reuse it in multiple settings. Using a title slide as described above, you can repurpose your prezi without making duplicates. Since you’re using the first topic as a title slide, all you need to do is change its content when presenting to a new audience. For example, you can personalize a pitch deck by placing the investor’s name, logo, and date in the first topic. When you pitch to another potential investor, all you need to change is the content in that first topic. This eliminates the need to duplicate your prezi for each different audience. However, you should only use this for prezis that you control yourself. If you share a link to your investors via email, they’ll view the most current version of your prezi. Consequently, any changes you make after sending it will be visible to your client. You wouldn’t want them to see someone else’s name on your title slide!
How to Set a Custom Prezi Starting Point
To change the Prezi starting point, first hover your mouse over the topic, subtopic, or animation step in the Prezi Editor. Then right-click to display the shortcut menu. From there, just select Set as Starting Point from the menu. When you present the prezi, it begins with your selection, and then moves on to the next step in the sequence. To reset the Prezi starting point to something else, just select something different, right-click and set the new custom starting point.
Deciding Where to Start
You can set the Prezi starting point to almost anything in your presentation – a topic, subtopic, object, or animation. Typically, you’ll start with the first topic or its first subtopic. After showing your custom starting point, Prezi Next continues through the normal sequence. So it doesn’t make sense to skip over the first part of your presentation. If you change the Prezi starting point to a point after the first topic, you’ll bypass part of your content. Your audience will never see anything that precedes the custom start. Keep this in mind when making a change to the Prezi starting point.
A Tip for Presenting
There are a variety of ways to present your prezi. Regardless of how you present, take the time to fully load your prezi before revealing it on screen, especially if it is very large. As the prezi is loading, you might catch a glimpse of the overview before it displays the starting point. This flash of this big picture defeats the whole purpose of setting a custom Prezi starting point. You can get around this if your presentation is already on the starting point before you open your laptop, or before you turn your projector on. If you’re in a conference situation and you can’t pre-load the prezi before your talk, hide the screen using a shortcut key or the button on your remote. Unhide the screen when you’re ready to begin, and all the audience will see is your custom starting point.
Making a Prezi Next Path
The Prezi Classic path moves from frame to frame, guiding the viewer through the content. Prezi Next doesn’t have a path. But you can make your own path using zoom animations. Incorporating a series of zoom animations with a custom starting point gives you complete control over the movement of your prezi. By changing the Prezi starting point to the first animation in the series, you bypass the overview, saving it for the very end of your presentation. It isn’t as easy to use as the Prezi Classic path, but it’s a close approximation. Setting a custom Prezi starting point can significantly change your presentation. For such a simple feature, it offers a variety of options to make your presentation more interesting and engaging.