Your presentation style is part of your personal brand. If you’re still clinging to bullet-point slides, it doesn’t matter how dynamic you are as a presenter, your personal brand will be damaged.
That’s because when you use bullet-laden slides in your presentation, your audience will make five decisions about you and your presentation:
1. This is going to be boring
When an audience sees the first slide of your presentation and they see row after row of bullets they’ll sink just a little in their seats. They’ve had to sit though many boring bullet-laden presentations before and they’re thinking “Uh-oh – this is going to be boring.”
Just like Pavlov’s dogs it’s a conditioned response. Paylov’s dogs salivated when Pavlov rang a bell because they anticipated being fed. Audiences deflate when the presenter uses bullets because they anticipate being bored.
2. You don’t know your stuff
If you knew your stuff, why would you need a screen to prompt you every few seconds? One of our course participants summed it up:
“I’ve been burying my expertise in a barrage of bullets.”
When I see someone presenting with bullet-point slides, I often think that I could deliver the presentation better than they can – even though I know nothing about the topic. Bullet-point slides obviate the need for your knowledge.
So take your notes off the screen, and put them in your hand. Now you can show off your knowledge.
3. You’re not up-to-date
The PowerPoint revolution has happened. People have seen PowerPoint used to show images to inspire and amuse, to show diagrams to clarify and explain, and to show charts that make data meaningful rather than deadly.
So when you show slide after slide of bullets, your audience will make that mean that you’re out-of-date and that you and your organisation are stuck in the past.
4. You’re lazy
Bullet-point slides send the message that you’re not prepared to put the work in to transform your presentation. The audience may be thinking “If you’re lazy about preparing your presentation, what else are you lazy about?”
You may be overestimating the time it will take to transform your presentation slides. Many of our course participants are surprised by how quickly they can put together a visually interesting PowerPoint presentation. See this post about The best PowerPoint slide format to see how long it takes compared to the alternatives.
5. You’re wasting my time
When you sit through a lengthy bullet-point presentation, do you think to yourself “The presenter could have sent me the slides for me to read and that would be a lot quicker!”
Your presentation is part of your personal brand and that of your organisation. If you’re still clinging to bullets, you’re damaging your brand.