It’s a bit of a myth that people won’t read bullet points.
Stand near the magazine rack near the supermarket checkout, and tell me you aren’t interested to learn more about Angelina’s Hot Tub Romp Shocks Brad - Pics!
You just have to make your bullet points more interesting. Yes, tabloid mags have juicier subject material to work with than you do, but you can adapt their techniques to add more zing to your presentation about indexed pension fund returns.
Rule 1: What’s in it for them?
Great communicators think about the subject from their audience’s viewpoint. How will your material make them more successful or popular, or save them from pain or stress?
So you can take a line like this:
New fund products will generate market outperformance of 3% over industry equivalents.
Average person $7000 a year better off with new funds.
All staff will be required to have Blackberries switched on at all times to ensure customer response times are minimised.
Mobile communications means less need to stay at work late.
Rule 2: Trim the Verbal Shrubbery
When you’re writing tabloid headlines, you don’t have much space. Every word has to justify its existance.
Good PowerPoint writing is the same.
A headline writer would be sacked for writing Angelina’s Romp In The Hot Tub Came As A Shock To Brad, Pictures of it Inside!
So you can trim this:
All new products will be rolled-out in all state markets commencing in January.
January national roll-out of all new products.
Rule 3: Hold Something Back
The job of a good bullet point is to arouse their interest, and make them want more.
In the tabloid mag, you read the cover headline and want to see those shots of Angelina in the tub.
You can do a similar thing with a presentation by not putting the whole story up on the screen. The whole point of presenting live is to focus the attention on you, not on your slides. So use the bullet point to pose a question that you can answer verbally.
So instead of:
The top 5% sales achievers in our company attribute their success to our new interactive laptop product demonstration system.
The secret sales weapon of our Top 5% achievers.
Build up a bit of tension as you read out the line. Let their curiosity focus the attention on you. Then tell them the answer.
If you insist on handing out printed copies of the presentation - and for the sake of the planet, don’t, because nobody ever reads them - then create an amended file with all the information included.
OK, you’ve read this far, here’s your shot of Angelina in the tub. That’s an impressive personal library of clip-art she’s got there.