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Is Death-by-Bullet Point an instinct?

Home Blog Is Death-by-Bullet Point an instinct?

By Presentation Studio May 26, 2016 //

Vivid Sydney, Visual Communication, Storytelling

Presentation Studio Vivid Sydney Visual Communication

Facts about boring presentations have become as prolific as the bullet points themselves – 28% of employees have admitted to falling asleep in presentations[i].  With the Boardroom fast becoming the bored-room – why do people still insist on endless slides of text?

Because most people don’t think they’re creative; thus resorting to bullet-points appears to be an instinctive response. For example, I was helping my 9-year old daughter with her homework – a presentation on North Korea. The Introduction was, “The leader is a crazy man who has banned funerals, weddings and Facebook…”

She started by dumping her entire speech onto slides, resulting in endless bullet-points. When I suggested using images to represent her ideas, keeping the text just for her speech, she immediately embraced the idea.

Unfortunately the instinct is the same in the corporate world. Yet when people see and experience the difference, they get it immediately. Companies including Telstra, Google, Microsoft, Qantas, Yahoo, NAB, CommBank and Pepsico have all embraced the shift in presentation culture.

But it’s more than slapping stock images on a slide; I call it Visual ThinkingTM - integrating the essence of a presentation’s message into a visual representation.

Although people say they don’t think visually, when I run workshops and give practical examples, I can see the moment they get it. Vision is our primary sense – 70% of all sensory receptors are in the eyes.[ii] Within three days of hearing a piece of information we remember only 10 per cent – yet add visuals and recall rises to 65 per cent.[iii]

Although we instinctively default to bullet-points, we’re biologically wired visually – which is why a powerful, visual presentation has a massive impact on people, careers and companies.

Emma Bannister will be speaking at Vivid Sparc Design 2016 on “Creating Winning Presentations.”

Link: http://www.vividsydney.com/event/ideas/sparc-design-2016

Presentation Studio’s innovative approach to Visual ThinkingTM, transforms lacklustre presentations into engaging, powerful and successful communication tools.


[i] James, C 2013, “How to stay awake in meetings,” The Sydney Morning Herald, viewed May 4, 2016, link.
[ii] McNamara, L. 2015, “Sensemaking in Organizations: Reflections on Karl Weick and Social Theory”, Epic, viewed May 17, 2016, link.
[iii] Medina, J. 2015 “Vision: Rule #10, vision trumps all other senses”, Brain Rules, viewed May 17, 2016, link.

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