I’m a huge fan of bullet points, especially in presentations. (I’m an even bigger fan of only using illustrative material in presentations, but I get that it’s often sensible to give attendees some sort of outline). Bullet points can be read quickly and easily, and can cut through where full text might bore readers. But are there ‘rules’ to make them even more effective?
My all time favourite recommendation is to make each bullet point a headline, not a label. They could even go as far as offering benefits and promises. Other great suggestions are to keep bullet points simple and uncluttered (no sub-bullets!), as well as consistent in style and length, like those below.
Five types of bullet point were outlined by Brian Clark in this blog from way back in 2008. They include:
- External Fascinations – hint at the content to prompt a purchase;
- Internal Fascinations – persuade people to continue reading the post;
- Bullet Chunking – extract the content from compound sentences;
- Authority Bullets – recite the data to bolster credibility; and
- Cliffhanger Bullets – lay the groundwork for upcoming content.
Other people have added more ideas over the years if you want to look for them, but these are examples of where they’re always effective.