2 Ideas to Make Your Bullet Points in PowerPoint a Little More Palatable

PowerPoint default formatting is begging you to use bullet points in your slide deck.

The thing about bullet points is that they’re not attractive. They’re not visually stimulating. But they’re set up as a default way to organize information on your slides, which makes them very easy to use.

If you or someone you know is seeking help to break a bullet point habit, Melissa Milloway posted a great slide deck on Slideshare last week with some ideas on how to avoid using bullet points.

If you’re not quite ready to break your habit, here are two simple ideas that may help you better engage your audience:

Animate your bullet points. When you dump all of your information on your slide at once, your audience will simply read all of your content (and they’ll probably miss out on all the brilliant things you have to say because the brain can’t process two things – reading and listening – at the same time).

Animate Your Bullets

Instead of turning the fire hose on your audience by giving them all your information at once, why not hold something back? Take your time, finish your thought, then share a little more information when you’re ready to move on to the next point.

Animate Your Bullets 2

Animate Your Bullets 3

Eliminate “sub-bullets”. It’s not your fault that it’s so easy to put everything you intend to say right in the slide. In fact, audiences have become accustomed to the outline-style format of bullet points and sub-bullet points.


But seriously, if everyone else jumped off a bridge, would you do it too? Sub-bullets are generally the narrative part of your presentation. They clutter up your slide, they overwhelm your audience with information, they again put you in a position in which your audience will be reading instead of listening to you (if your audience is even able to read the small font on your slide), and they’re just more work to put them into a presentation.

Sub-bullets 2

Reserve the real estate on your slide for key points and you’ll have less cluttered slides, you’ll have more of the audience’s attention, and you can use a font size that even the people in the back of the room will be able to read.

There you have it, two easy tips to improve your slide design without needing to be a graphic designer.

Know someone whose slides could benefit from an easy make-over? Pass this link along!

5 thoughts on “2 Ideas to Make Your Bullet Points in PowerPoint a Little More Palatable

    • Thanks Tania! Hope it’s helpful. Send it around to anyone you think needs it.

      And yes, Melissa’s deck is pretty awesome – concrete ways to just eliminate bullets all together.

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