Beyond Bullet PointsMaking stunning presentations of your ideas, products and services is a killer business skill and one that is rare. It’s not that people can’t learn to do this, it’s just that most of the examples we are exposed to through PowerPoint slide shows are deathly as learning tools.

Cliff Atkinson, author of Beyond Bullet Points, stopped by the Duct Tape Marketing podcast to share his wildly successful presentation system. Cliff’s approach not only goes beyond bullet points, the making of a visually stunning PowerPoint deck, he breaks down the strategy behind getting you ideas across in ways that not only entertain, but engage.

Cliff refined his systematic approach to presenting powerful ideas by getting results winning folks over that really mattered – juries. Law firms saw the results his presentations were getting and he quickly became “the go to person” for persuasive presentations.

His book should be required reading for anyone who ever fired up a copy of PowerPoint, but make no mistake, the title aside, this is a great tool to learn every aspect of presenting, 1 on 1 or to groups of thousands.

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John Jantsch

John Jantsch is a marketing consultant, speaker and author of Duct Tape Marketing, Duct Tape Selling, The Commitment Engine and The Referral Engine and the founder of the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network.
  • Love this approach!

    I got into ‘Beyond Bullet points’ a couple of years ago after understanding that, once again, Microsoft have produced a tool which has cornered the market but which is awful at doing what it should do – make effective presentations. It’s great at making long-winded slides with lots of text and bad formatting, but in terms of persuasive, focused presentations: no!

    One thing to watch with this approach is the attitude of certain folks (usually those ingrained in the ‘throw everything at the slide and let the audience work it out’ approach) who have a reticence to understand this method. “You can’t present that to senior management – it has no data on it!” they say. “Actually” I say,”it has all the data on there, it’s in the notes, I’ll pass that information on in the presentation and let them have the notes after the meeting. If they’re focusing on reading the slides to get information then they’re not listening to me. If they’re not listening to me then I don’t need to be there for the presentation!”

    Try it. Follow the approach that Cliff describes and see how your presentation style alters – and how your audience appreciates the fact that your presenting TO them rather than AT them.

  • I too liked the podcast a great deal. We’ve all struggled through poor presentations. I do, however take exception to Gary’s comment above that “Microsoft have produced a tool which has cornered the market but which is awful at doing what it should do – make effective presentations.” That’s like saying, “Stanley has done it again. They’ve produced a hammer that builds poor houses.” Powerpoint is a tool. In the hands of a master, it can and does build something beautiful. In the hands of the uninitiated, it builds something undesirable. For me, the point of the piece is that anyone (almost) can learn to use the tool properly, and build something beautiful with it. That ought to be something we can all get excited about.