Want to Kill an Audience? Put Some Bullets in their Head…
Do you want to know the quickest way to kill an audience’s enthusiasm?
Bullets. PowerPoint Bullets. Typical presentations slides are wordy sentences that come after a little dot. The Bullet. It is hard to fault the presenter for the inclusion of bullets. When you open PowerPoint the first thing you see is a little gray dot that says “c’mon give me a bullet”. So most presenters do just that, and continue to put bullets in the brain of the audience until they have been pronounced dead.
Why do so many presenters insist on using bullet points? Most presenters don’t realize that you can’t read and listen at the same time. Extensive use of bullets forces the audience to stop listening. Good luck engaging an audience that isn’t listening to you.
Bullets with words aren’t memorable because your brain wasn’t built to remember them. All your brain sees is a series of squiggly lines that represent a sound in a language (arbitrarily agreed to by members of a particular culture). So those squiggly lines have no inherent meaning and can’t be retained. It is no wonder people forget more than 75% of a presentation the minute they walk out the door. You stand a much better chance of engaging the audience if you get visual by incorporating pictures, symbols, and conceptual diagrams.
If you want to resuscitate your audience, ignore PowerPoint’s call for bullets and get visual. One more bullet might be the last one the audience reads before they are pronounced dead by a bullet to the brain.
Here is a question for you all: Have you ever “died” during a presentation? What “killed” you?