If you could choose how to learn to fling your body off a high dive while doing a flying forward somersault, would you prefer being told how to do it, or would it be safer if somebody showed you?

Unless you’re an adrenaline junkie with a death wish, I’m guessing  you’d say, I’d rather not kill myself, show me.

Most of us know this about ourselves and yet many speakers assume audiences not only expect, but enjoy being told how to do things… bullet point after bullet point, after bullet point.

Every now and then I contemplate why this is.  Are presenters like lemmings? If one decides to hurl itself off the Powerpoint Cliff, is the entire herd doomed to follow him? Once Bullet Point Mentality reaches critical mass, is it irreversible?

Such contemplations (like influenza) must run their full course. This one often concludes with the same unanswered question: Why doesn’t Powerpoint install with a simple disclaimer…

Warning! Bullets Have Been Known to Kill Careers & Audience Attention!

Now, if this sounds like I’m describing one of your presentations, take heart because it’s not your fault.

What is the first thing Powerpoint asks you to do when you open a new slide? Type in some bullet text, that’s what! Combine this with the fact that so many businesses aren’t aware of the difference between a document and a presentation, it’s no wonder so few harness the power of Powerpoint software.

Truth is, when giving a talk, the audiences gifts you with their time and attention, so why not take some of your time and attention and collaborate with a designer to create slides that make life easier for them? 

Come to think of it, why am I typing all of these words? Here.. take a look:


On the left is a typical Powerpoint slide stuffed with ten attention-repelling bullet points. By contrast, on the right we have a delightful vintage illustration from the 1912 Olympics explaining everything you need to know in one simple visual.

Which slide makes you work harder? Which one makes you want to gauge your eyes out?  How would you feel if you had to sit through a 45 minute presentation jammed with slides just like the first one? Tuned in, or turned off? Catatonic?

And don’t forget that ditching your bullet points will free you up to talk like a real human being. Instead of reading your slides, you are more likely to describe and tell stories so the audiences sees what you see. Finding and implementing images may require some additional time and effort, but taking good care of your audience is a good way to make them love you.

So are you sick of being a Bullet-Point Bystander when you could be taking The Big Picture Plunge? If you’ve tried to incorporate images into your presentations in the past, but it felt more like a bellyflop than a somersault, I can give your presentation a professional polish so you can relax into the business of delighting your audience.

So what do you think about bullet points vs images? Are there any hurdles you encounter when trying to incorporate pictures? When are bullet points helpful? Feel free to share your presentation stories here.

Source: Public Review Domain


Taos web designer Susan J PrestonCreative Director, Susan J. Preston, began freelancing as a web designer in Washington, DC in 1996. Her presentation design has appeared in animations, webinars, presentations for The Pew Foundation, iovation, Bloomberg BNA, Eli Lilly and The Discovery Channel. Since 2010 she has resided in Santa Fe & Taos, New Mexico, creating websites for creative professionals and entrepreneurs with a focus on clear and effective visual communication which clearly communicates and inspires audience engagement.

Yes! I'm Ready to Double My Leads.

Send me the 48-Point Checklist!

We value your privacy and will never spam you. 

You have Successfully Subscribed!