How to Write Bullet Points
Writing bullets for your Powerpoint slides may seem like a simple task but you need to put some thought into the process to maximise audience engagement. What do you need to know about this kind of business writing?How Can Bullet Points Help Your Presentation?
Bullets are primarily used to break down sections of a presentation into clearly defined points and can serve various purposes. For example, you can use them as a marker so that your audience knows where you are in your speech and where you are going next. Or, you can use them to record key data or to explain what you are saying in a slightly different way to make sure that your audience is fully engaged.
Knowing what you want these points to do before you write them is important. Although they can be used to highlight elements of your presentation, it is far more common for presenters to use them to simply repeat what they are saying. This essentially makes you and your speech redundant and could ultimately bore and disengage your audience.
How Not to Use Bullet Points on a Powerpoint Slide
The key mistake people make when they compose bullet points is to copy parts of their presentation on to a slide. Simply adding a bullet to a sentence does not make it an effective point. So, for example, let's say you are pitching the benefits of your web hosting company to a prospective client. The following example is not the most effective way to bullet point:
We offer full service domain name and hosting solutions on a global basis. Our shared or dedicated Windows or Linux hosting packages can be purchased off the shelf or customised to meet your needs and are all backed up by 24/7 support, 365 days of the year with a 99% uptime guarantee.A block of text like this takes the attention of the audience from you to the slide. It also makes the mistake of putting too many features into one bullet. People should be listening to you to process the information you are giving them rather than reading it on the screen. So, how could you do it better?How to Write Bullets More Effectively
A more effective use of bullet points would be to take the key points of your statement and highlight the key benefits. Make them say something useful. So, for example, you could write:
Full service global domain and hosting solutionsShared or dedicated hosting on Windows or LinuxOff the shelf or customised packages24/7 support, 365 days a year99% uptime guaranteeThis copy emphasizes your benefits in a simple order and allows you to talk around them. Your audience can see key points but will also have to listen to what you say.
It is also worth considering how your bullet points look and how they can be processed by your audience. Generally, you should avoid having too many on one slide and you should mix and match with visuals to make your presentation more appealing.
Keep the words in each point short and of a similar overall length. Try not to use more than one line per bullet. Some presenters will follow the 6 x 6 rule this allows you a maximum of 6 bullet points per slide with 6 words in each one. You don't have to be this structured but, as a general rule of thumb, this may be a good principle to use as a starting point.
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