In Presentations and eLearning Visuals are worth a thousand Bullets on a Slide

Whether you are a presenter or developing eLearning, our job is to engage our audience and no other things does the exact opposite more than a never ending list of bullet points on a Powerpoint slide.

One of the best presentations I have ever witnessed in person was delivered by Seth Godin. He came to speak to us when I was at Adobe during one of our annual sales and marketing conferences and wow, was I blown away, not only is he sharp and funny but the visuals he uses in his presentation leave you wanting more. I never seen anyone captivate an audience in that way that Seth did.

In a blog post, Seth describes bullet points on Powerpoint slides as “unemotional and sterile.” Seth also wrote an eBook entitled ‘Really Bad PowerPoint’ and you can read more about it HERE.

I’m also a big fan of Carmine Gallo, a Communications coach and author of The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to Be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience. In his book, Carmine notes that one thing that stands out from the late, great Steve Jobs’ presentations is that they are easy on the eye, Jobs made them visual with little text and one, maybe two images per slide, he painted a picture for his audience without overwhelming them. Mr. Gallo says that inspiring presentations are short on bullet points and big on visuals.

Amen to that.

Great advice for all of us whether we are working on our next presentation or developing our next eLearning course using products like Articulate Presenter and PowerPoint, Adobe Captivate or Camtasia.

Over the weekend, I found, favorited and ReTweeted this amazing article on 6 Alternatives to Bullet Lists, written by Connie Malamed. My favorite is Alternative 2: Let icons do the talking. I highly recommend you check it out and start applying Connie’s suggestions into your next presentation and/or eLearning course. Please check it out and let me know what you think.

The link to the original article is below in the embedded tweet.


  • I saw a presentation recently by Patrick Hoffman at Google on the use of icons. There wasn’t a single word of text in the presntation apart from the title slide. It was a very engaging and thought provoking presentation. Check it out at:

    • Anonymous

      This is awesome, Colum. Thanks for sharing. That should be our goal to ban most if not all text from our presentations. I think in doing so, our creativity will be improved. Thanks for the comment, Sir.

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