To Bullet or Not To Bullet


                                                                                                                                                           Why do We use Bullets?

Most of the presentation slides we see today are riddled with bullet points. And there’s a reason for this       – bullets can serve as very helpful memory cues for speakers.


But when bulleted slides contain no visuals or narrative and the neither the presenter nor the presentation makes the connections between the bulleted items, bullet points can actually make it much harder for an audience to retain information long-term.


And, remember, retaining audience interest and attention is the biggest challenge for a presentation.


Bullets vs Audiences

Yes, it’s true that most presenters do connect their points but, still, all too often audiences are either focused on the bullet points or ignoring them altogether. Or, worse, the presenter is merely reading the points from the slides and ignoring the audience altogether.


Either way, the purpose of such a presentation – to present ideas and information – is defeated.


Use the Notes Section

Okay, it may be contrary to human nature, or at least to your corporate culture, to ban bullet points altogether. (In fact, bullets can be helpful as a script guide for the presenter if they’re put in the Notes section of the slides.)


Shorten your Bullets

But if you must use bullet points: keep them as short as possible; focus on verbs (not adjectives); and, most important of all, make sure you emphasize and explain the connections between your points.


How do your bulleted items relate to each other?  Also, the relationships between the headline (main idea) and each of the points must be clear and presented in a logical way.


Choose the Audiences’ Attention

Bottom line?  Always keep in mind that bullets are working against you if your audience is reading them instead of paying attention to you. So guard against the tendency to read them off your slides as if you were merely reading a written report.


Good presenters need to be livelier than that….