1-minute tip: Kill boring bullet points from your Compensation presentations

Growing - Sunday Skills - Compensation InsiderWe’ll soon be entering into the full swing of conference season, and have been booked to speak and/or chair at some events in the region over the coming months. More on that very soon as I would love to meet some of my readers at these events :-).

Communication skills are significant for Compensation pros

If you are a regular reader you know that I consider communication skills to be very important for HR and Compensation pros.
I believe that if the content is well thought-through, and the slides support the delivery of the message instead of taking over from what the presenter is saying, then we have a good chance of getting the message across – and to drive others to take action in the direction we find most suitable.
So this week-end I was browsing the net in order to find tips to make my presentations better.
I have made progress already in terms of how I build the content, as well as in terms of slides design, but I am far from being as powerful, polished and persuasive as some of the masters like Garr Reynolds or Nancy Duarte. It’s great to have role models though, right 😉 ?

Getting away from bullet point lists

Anyways – one of the things we can all live with a few less of is lists of bullet points. Yes, they are safe. And yes, they are the “default” option when you start typing text in Powerpoint.
But how boring they can be !
A lot of blogs about presentation and/or teaching techniques advise to move away from bullet points as much as possible. Check this short video (about 3 minutes 30) to see a very convincing example from PresentationBlueprint.com about an alternative to bullet points (click through if you don’t see the video) :

Some articles, like Don’t shoot them with bullets points – engage them ! from ElearningBeehive.com, even list tens of ideas of how to express the same idea in a format other than a bullet point list.

So I set out to test a useful tool directly in Powerpoint : SmartArt.

Here are the super simple steps :
  1. Basically, you type your bullet point list as usual, including sub points if needed.
  2. Then you select the whole bullet list and right-click > Convert to SmartArt (choose the “more” option at the bottom of the pop-up box).
  3. Select the type of graphic you want to display, if needed adjust colour and font settings, add pictures, and in a few seconds you are done.
You’ll find below a series of tests I made with a typical list like you would find in many traditional presentations, especially in Compensation & Benefits where a lot of what we present is of a rather conceptual nature. You will see the variety of effects that are built into Powerpoint (and I didn’t play with colours, 3D effects or anything of the sort). RSS readers may have to click through to view the presentation.

Some are very useful when you have long text of sub-points. Others, when you can condense your text in just a few words. Others still, if you can find good images to illustrate your point. Some work for processes or sequences, while others are better for unrelated points.
It’s all a matter of playing around and seeing what works best for your content. I hope you will remember this tip for your next presentation, and let me know in the comments if you received appreciative remarks and feedback !
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