How to Use Bullet Points in a Sales Presentation

By Tom Drews

To give your next PowerPoint presentation some punch, follow these tips for using bullet points to your advantage. Even such simple details as getting bullet points right can improve your message and set you up for a more successful meeting.

Use no more than five bullets points per slide. One of the biggest mistakes you can make in a presentation is overloading your slides with too much information. If it takes more than four or five seconds to read the slide, then you’re distracting and boring your prospects.

Include no more than four or five words per point. Buyers want you to paint a picture and tell a compelling story. Make it painfully simple for your prospect to clearly understand the value you have to provide. You may have the greatest product or service in the world, but it will mean next to nothing if you can’t simply and quickly communicate your value based on your prospect’s most important needs.

Pay attention to pacing. People read faster than they listen. If you’re calling up slides packed with information, people start reading and stop listening. Never let the prospect get a chance to get ahead of you. To give your message maximum impact, isolate your bullet points so you can discuss them, one slide at a time. (In other words, bring up one bullet point, and then speak. Then bring up the next point and speak, and so on. You can also “gray out” your points as you wrap up and move on to the next one. That way, your prospect will focus entirely on your voice.)

Swap visuals for bullet points. Sometimes you’re better off with no bullet points at all, going with a strong visual or photograph instead. If it’s not necessary for your audience members to read, then don’t ask them to. Remember, your number one goal is to effectively communicate your message and value to prospects without distracting or boring them.