Why I think Prezi is better than PowerPoint – by Rebecca Sloan

Rebecca Sloan, Kinetic, WIBA

Rebecca Sloan waxes lyrical about Prezi

With my upcoming presentation on how to measure and manage your reputation in the 21st century coming up next Tuesday to WIBA, it seemed about time to start pulling together the presentation slides. 

Having recently discovered Prezi, a relatively new platform which functions as a zooming presentation editor, my upcoming seminar seemed the perfect opportunity to try out the new platform.

With this in mind, we’d like to let you in on this well-kept secret and give you an insight into this tool which will revolutionise the way in which we deliver presentations. Here’s my review of Prezi in comparison to PowerPoint:

Functionality

It will take a few minutes to get used to the new functionality of Prezi.  However, once you’ve learned this, designing a presentation is much easier to do and requires far less fuss to make look interesting.  Kiss goodbye to aligning text with grid lines.  Prezi is all about freedom of expression.

Usability

Unlike PowerPoint, more than one person can edit a Prezi presentation at a time.  You can even track their movements with neat little cartoon people who wander around the screen mimicking the movements of other users.  Great fun and hugely useful if you need to pull together a last-minute group presentation.

Fun 

Where PowerPoint encourages a ‘less is more’ approach, Prezi takes a view that ‘more is better fun’. With the ability to zoom, twirl and dive into words and pictures, Prezi enables presentations to function more as a ‘mind-map’ than as a slideshow.

Overall, we think it’s a great piece of software.  Although serious users will need to pay a small licence fee (approximately £37 a year) to keep their presentations private and under-wraps, it is well worth the price if you’re likely to be running regular presentations. Four out of four stars!

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Should PR tell the truth? by Aimee Postle

01 Aimee PostleLong has it been in the making but I promised in my last blog that my next stop would be ‘churnalism’.

The question of public relations’ influence on the media is longstanding. While there have been people reporting the news, there have also been people seeking to influence the way in which it is reported to their own gain.

But, what are the ethical implications on those of us who report the news and those of us who seek to influence it?

For journalist Simon Jenkins, ‘public relations can never be real news’. Nick Davies – source of the term churnalism – argues that public relations is responsible for pseudo-events, phoney front groups and grass roots campaigns, supposedly independent experts and spokespeople who speak to a PR agenda as well as propaganda and lobbying to shift government policy.

However, while there may be more media channels available – internet sites, print newspapers and magazines, terrestrial, cable and sky television, digital radio – staffing in the newsrooms has been reduced and journalists rely increasingly on the news coming to them.

Nick Davies and Cardiff University teamed up to conduct some research into the provenance of domestic news in the major national newspapers in 2007. Of the 2,207 stories analysed over a two-week period, 60% consisted wholly or mainly of wire copy or PR material. 41% were initiated by PR or contained material supplied by PR.

This is the churnalism that Davies refers to. Overworked reporters sit in dark news rooms waiting for PR people to feed them the latest line which will affect public perception of a company or activity. This PR-driven news has to go online or into print so quickly that journalists do not have the time to check whether it is true.

For those of you who like a little conspiracy theory with your coffee, Davies’ book – Flat Earth News – is well worth a read. 

But please do bear in mind that, while PR people may not necessarily have a duty to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, this does not mean that we all automatically lie on behalf of our clients.

The duty of a PR person is to the client they represent and, often, the best advice that we can give to a client is to show integrity, honesty and truthfulness. People buy people and the businesses that do well are the ones that people trust.

PR and politics – spin or a whole new comms world? by Claire Barker

Claire's portraitRemember Alistair Campbell? He was certainly the most talked about press secretary any prime minister had employed when he served as the ‘second most powerful person in Britain’ during Tony Blair’s reign at Number 10.

Towards the end of Blair’s time in office, New Labour realised that ‘spin’ was doing the party more harm than good and so Campbell left with a new, calmer press regime installed instead. 
 
But what was Campbell’s ‘spin doctoring’ all about? Sure, some of it verged on an obsession with controlling the news agenda and dictating to the media. Not a move particularly welcomed or embraced by journalists. 
 
But at its heart, Campbell’s strategy was seemingly based on ensuring consistent communication across the Labour party; singing from the same hymn sheet, getting everyone facing in the same direction – all those phrases us PR people like to wheel out every now and then! 
 
But doesn’t this all sound a touch familiar? Haven’t we just seen Barrack Obama secure the American Presidency on the back of staying true to his brand and sticking to core messages? 
 
His narrative was crystal clear from day one of his campaign. It was always about ‘change’. He found something that rang true with American people and then he stuck with it, even when it was tempting to go ‘off message’. It meant people identified with him and what he believed in – a sure fire way to win votes, as we all saw. 
 
So wasn’t it interesting, and just a little ironic, that Labour MPs and strategists joined the Obama campaign towards its climax to pick up comms tactics and campaigning tips for their own Party efforts?
Could we see British politics now taking a leaf from the American book? There’s no doubt that Obama’s campaign was an incredible feat of professional communication and organisation combined with inspirational leadership. 
 
As a PR professional my hope is that the expectation he has created can be maintained. It’s going to take a critical comms campaign as well as his natural charm. It doesn’t have to be one at the expense of the other. But it can be done. 
 
Anyone see any candidates on the UK politics scene who could do something similar? If only