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How Many Bullet Points Should Your PowerPoint Slide Have?

Learn how many bullet points to include on each slide of a PowerPoint presentation from media coach TJ Walker in this Howcast public speaking video.


So how many bullet points should you include in each PowerPoint slide? Let's step back a minute, ask ourselves, why do we want to know that? Why do we even think it's effective to use bullet points on a PowerPoint? Now I understand everyone in your organization does it. That's the way that your boss does it. That's the way that everyone else in your industry does it. But ask yourself, do you really have proof that throwing bullet points up on a Power Point slide is effective?

Now, I'm not anti-PowerPoint. I use it every day. But here's what I found in testing audiences all over the world. They do not remember text and bullet points. Now, you can doubt me, test it for yourself, don't take my word for anything. Test your audience and see what they remember. If it's just about text, words can come out of your mouth. You do not need a PowerPoint slide to hold words.
Words can come out of your mouth, words can go on notes for you. The most effective way to use a PowerPoint slide is to put an image there. Put up an image. A picture, a graph, a chart, as long as it focuses on one idea and not one of these charts with 29 different variables. And the reason is that people do not really like to read when someone else is turning the page and talking to them. So this idea that five is the perfect number of bullet points, or three, that's complete bologna.

Now, maybe I haven't convinced you and you are still intent on using bullet points, okay, you got me. The fewer the bullet points the better. So if you got a choice between ten and five, put five. If you have a choice between five and three, put three. One is better than three. The fewer the better because it simply isn't memorable for people to read.

Now, if you're creating a PowerPoint that you're emailing to people or handing out, put as many as you want. If people are interested in your subject and no one's disturbing them, they can read it on the plane, on the bus, the subway, in their office. They can read it, they can go through the data, they can underline it, highlight it.

So keep in mind you should differentiate. The PowerPoint that you email to people versus the one that you're showing. But, the best number of all, in terms of bullet points in a PowerPoint. Absolutely zero.

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