Bullet Points Are Boring

July 26, 2018

 

In modern business, if there’s a presentation, there’s almost always a PowerPoint with it. Many people still lean heavily on slides with bulleted text under a simple headline.

 

My friend, If this sounds like you, please stop.  Really.  

 

Times have changed, and having one slide after another look exactly the same will have a hypnotic effect on your audience — a sleepy, hypnotic effect, that is.

 

The last thing you want to be is tiresome and irritating.  The comedian Don McMillan does a funny bit on this:

 

  • The

  • Term

  • Bullet-Point

  • Comes

  • From

  • People (wanting to)

  • Fire

  • Guns

  • At

  • Annoying

  • Presenters

 

Let's face it, attention spans are shrinking, and your audience may tune out when they see a long laundry list of items. Worse yet, they worry when they see full sentences next to the bullets. What if the presenter plans to read the slides, word for word?

 

Ugh.

 

This is why today's most popular presenters are replacing bullet points with colorful, engaging images that grab attention.

 

Watch any TED talk and you’ll know what I mean. Bold images bring big ideas to life, with key words placed strategically to inform the message.

 

Here are some tips to keep your slides looking modern and fresh:

 

  • Use bullets sparingly, if at all.  Pair images with key words to preview and summarize 

  • Overlay words (1-3 max) on a picture to keep things interesting

  • Use relevant pictures that support your message

  • Include crisp images; make sure they are not blurry or too busy

  • Graphs are visually appealing, as long as they are easy to understand

  • Never, ever use clip art if you can help it

 

(Yes, I know...I just gave you a bulleted list 😊. Bullets are great to include in reading material like this blog. If you are creating a presentation that is primarily a resource document, one that won't be delivered but read, you can use as many bullets as you want. My comments apply to live presentations in front of an audience.)

 

So, if you are going to engage a live audience be wary of too many bullet points.

 

And sometimes, (shockingly), it can be fresh to deliver without a PowerPoint at all. That's another blog for another day.

 

Best Regards,

Cheryl

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