Getting down & dirty with bullet points

We all know and have been fed the story that bullet points are bad, bullet points are evil, don’t use bullet points - they’re boring etc etc. Use pictures, use diagrams, use whatever, JUST DON’T USE BULLET POINTS!

I subscribe to that view, I’ve helped hundreds of clients with their presentations, helping them to avoid using bullet points, coming up with lots of creative ways and using every trick in the book to avoid the dreaded bullet point list.

But, despite all that, I’ve recently found myself using them (shock, horror, gasp!)……and the reason? Well, it’s the same reason I don’t use bullet points when helping clients with their presentations. The reason we avoid bullet point lists and use diagrams, images, icons, graphics, contrasting numbers, whatever….is that it gives the presentation some structure, it gives the presenter something that they can follow, expand on & fill the gaps and it keeps the audience focussed on the presenter and not on the slide deck.

Well, I’ve been doing exactly the same using bullet points.

Most of the presentations I’ve worked on in the past for clients are high stakes presentations. These are people that need to make an impact, be it with a colleague, a client or at an event. The client wouldn’t pay for my help unless there was a big enough reason. More recently, using, I’ve been making lots of very short, ‘quick & dirty’ presentations. They’re my weekly 2 minute overview of the business that I send out to the stakeholders so they can understand what’s going on, and how things are progressing. And the reason I use bullet points is because they are exactly that, they’re ‘quick & dirty’. I have 3 slides and I pick 3 one word bullet points for each. I have a red slide which covers off the bad stuff that happened in the week, a green slide which covers off the good stuff, and then an amber slide which covers what’s in the week ahead or where I think any potential issues are. I don’t want to spend any time making these look ‘fancy’, all I need are a few words to prompt me as to what to talk about next. I spend 2 minutes making the slides, another 2 minutes recording myself talking to them and in under 5 minutes I’ve done my weekly roundup.

So, my view has changed, there is a place for bullet points in the presentation world, you just need to get down & dirty with them…