The human brain is not designed for bullet points.
Let’s face it, bullet points are boring—and they’re the number-one reason that PowerPoint audiences lose interest in your presentations.
A better strategy is to use compelling visual aids instead of bulleted lists. Here’s the good news: PowerPoint 2013 has a great feature called SmartArt that can help you transform those boring bullet points into a visual aid.
How to Convert Bullets to SmartArt
It’s a simple process. In fact, there are two ways to do it. One way is to look under the Insert menu and choose “SmartArt Graphic.” You’ll be asked to select a diagram style from the gallery of options, and then you can enter your text (what would have been your bullet points) into the created graphic.
Obviously, that method works best if you haven’t already entered bullet point text into your PowerPoint slides. But if you have, don’t worry. There’s a way to convert existing slide text into SmartArt, too. Here’s how:
▪ Put your cursor into the text box where your bulleted text is already typed. Use the right-click feature to pull up a menu, then select “Convert To SmartArt.
▪ The graphics gallery for SmartArt should open automatically. Pick the diagram style that makes the most sense for this particular set of bullet points. Then PowerPoint does the work of converting your bullets into the new diagram.
▪ If the created diagram isn’t immediately perfect for your needs, you can adjust it. Just apply any of the PowerPoint formatting tools to the diagram in order to resize it, change the color, move it to a different part of the slide, and so on.
Remember to Keep It Concise
A visual aid works best when it’s clean and simple. If you converted a wordy, lengthy bulleted list into a visual with SmartArt, you’re still going to lose your audience.
SmartArt visuals are best used to convey a flow of information, a cause-and-effect situation, or a general timeline of events.
As always, it’s ideal to keep the heavy data in clear and simple graphs—and to save most of the numbers for the handout you’ll give the audience. (After the presentation, not before. But you knew that, right?)
Where to Find More Killer PowerPoint Tips
Looking for other ways to wow your audience with PowerPoint? Check out the Slideshop blog for more details on successful presentations.