Presentations: Ditch the Bullets!

While I was attending business school at Santa Clara University, I did a lot of PowerPoint presentations for my classes. Those presentations taught me how to be more comfortable as I presented. Then when I was doing consulting for Accenture, I learned to put together and present solid presentations, which I now know were also boring. That last part isn’t my fault entirely, I was expected to follow the corporate style, which was detail packed and boring. Finally, in the business I ran with my wife, I learned how to make more natural, interesting presentations.

Since then, I have been constantly studying how to create better presentations by watching great presenters and learning about their styles. That’s why I was interested when I found a link to a SlideShare presentation put together by HubSpot. The presentation gives ten lessons from what they call the world’s most captivating presenters. The presentation really reinforced what areas I have been good at and pointed out some areas that I could use some work in. Here are the top two points that I took away that will triple the effectiveness of my presentations.

  1. Logic isn’t enough. Tell a story.
  2. Ditch the bullet points.

The key to the first is that just listing out statistics or specifications isn’t enough. People love and connect with stories. Telling a story will have much more of an impact than lists of facts. The second, ditching the bullet points, is one I will do with joy. I’ve always hated bullet points, but it was beat into my head over many years that they were necessary, so I often add them by default. This presentation was a good reminder that they can actually hurt more than help.

If you do presentations or are planning on doing one, you owe it to yourself to check out the full presentation. I’ve embedded it below. If you even take a few of their points to heart, you will dramatically improve your presentations. So, take a few minutes and check it out. I’ve embedded the slideshow , so you don’t even have to leave the page!


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