Bullets = death

I’m not referring of course, to the bullets that come out of a gun, but rather the ubiquitous bullet point: •

I was told 4 years ago to have my wisdom teeth taken out, which I put off (a brilliant move on my part) taking care of until today, when I found myself sitting in an oral surgeon’s office watching a video that is to inform me all about the process. At the point that the presenter is discussing possible complications, a bullet point list comes up on the screen. Here’s what I see:

  • blahblahblahblahblah
  • blahblahblahblahblah
  • blahblahblahblahblah
  • blahblahblahblahblah
  • blahblahblahblahblah
  • blahblahblahblahblah
  • POTENTIALLY FATAL

WHAT???!!!!

At its best, the bullet point list is an easy shortcut that helps to properly organize your ideas – particularly for presentations, which are all about talking points. At its worst, the bullet point list is for lazy bastards with no imagination.

Dan and Chip Heath had a related column in Fast Company a few months back (yes, I realize I reference this magazine a lot, but it’s the only one I read on a regular basis):

We’ve all had the experience of being in the audience as a presenter clicks to a slide with eight bullet points. As he starts discussing the first one, we read all eight. Now we’re bored. He’s lost us.

He’s lost us? Or killed us?

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Posted on February 19, 2009, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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