They appear often in business presentations: hierarchies of bullet points:

  • A summary point that partly repeats what is said below
    • A sub summary point that partly repeats what is said below
      • A sub sub summary point that partly repeats what is said below

The worst of all bullet point sins: the lone bullet point that jut hangs there without a brother or sister.

Breaking up a problem/story in its components is great for solving problems: you can get a hypothesis quickly and carve up your team to work on each of the individual bits. They might even work as the skeleton of a presentation story flow.

On actual slides though, it is a different matter. These hierarchies are hard to read and process. You read the summary, read the supporting points, then combine the supporting points to internalise the summary again. Too much.

For a presentation, you need to flatten the bullet points. 

  • Kill bullet point hierarchies as much as possible, creating a linear flow
  • Then, spreading out each bullet point on a separate chart (as much as possible).

Ever wondered why my presentation app SlideMagic does not even feature the option of a bullet point?