The Banning of Bullet Points? Bullets Don’t Inspire. Stories Do.

Simply put, the brain is not built to retain information that’s structured as bullet points on a slide. It’s well-known among neuroscientists that we recall things much better when we see pictures of the object or topic than when we read text on a slide.

Editor’s Note: Excellent article shared with me by Ed Stillman and highlighting the importance of stories in sharing.

Extract from an article by Carmine Gallo

In his 2018 annual letter, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos repeated his rule that PowerPoint is banned in executive meetings. What Bezos replaced it with provides even more valuable insight for entrepreneurs and leaders.

In his letter, and in a recent discussion at the Forum on Leadership at the Bush Center, Bezos revealed that “narrative structure” is more effective than PowerPoint. According to Bezos, new executives are in for a culture shock in their first Amazon meetings. Instead of reading bullet points on a PowerPoint slide, everyone sits silently for about 30 minutes to read a “six-page memo that’s narratively structured with real sentences, topic sentences, verbs, and nouns.”

After everyone’s done reading, they discuss the topic. “It’s so much better than the typical PowerPoint presentation for so many reasons,” Bezos added.

As a student of narrative storytelling in business for the past 20 years, I can tell you exactly why it’s so much better.

Simply put, the brain is not built to retain information that’s structured as bullet points on a slide. It’s well-known among neuroscientists that we recall things much better when we see pictures of the object or topic than when we read text on a slide.

Visuals are much, much more powerful than text alone. That’s why, if you choose to use slides, use more pictures than words–and don’t use bullet points. Ever.

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