Ever created a presentation by opening powerpoint and started filling in the bullet-points that are there? Out of respect for your audience; NEVER do this again. We do this mostly because the software (mis)leads us to do so. It’s considered a «standard». But do a google search for «death by bullet points» and you will see how many people are trying to tell the world to stop this nasty habit.
Bullet-points include too much text, and the human brain is not made to read and listen at the same time. As soon as you start reading the text that is on the slide, you loose focus on what the presenter is saying. The other problem is that it’s really hard to remember bullet points. There is nothing for your brain to link the bullet points to. This is why experts have created the «rule of 7» which states that any one slide should never include more than 7 words. Use this as a rule of thumb, and ignore it when it feels just.
So what do we do instead? Lets look at an short example. In Norway we have our famous 9 rules for travelling in mountains. Lets create a powerpoint to explain these rules for you – first the wrong way, and then the right way.
The wrong way: First, we open powerpoint, and we create our list of 9 bullets. That’s how 95% of us would do it. It would look something like this.
Now, is this intriguing? How many of these rules would you remember? Is this remarkable? Or would this pretty much put you to sleep? If you are like most of us, the answer is the latter. Now the alternative approach. Do a search for «mountain backpack» (to illustrate point 5)
Find a suitable background, create a slide for each point instead of cramming it all in one slide and maybe you’ll end up with something like the image below.
This might not be what you are «used to» or what your colleagues do, but ask yourself this question; a week from now, which point on the list will I remember? I think you already know the answer!