Three reasons to avoid bullet points


If you write for a living or even just as a hobby, and there’s any component of advice or help in your work, it’s important to be able to get your point across in as effective a manner as possible. And there are many techniques to accomplish this.

The problem is that in the pursuit of succinctness, you can turn to shortcuts that can hinder your work and ultimately harm your aims. One of these hacks is the use of bullet points. Bullet points are problematic, pernicious, and ultimately do not help you get your point across. Here are three reasons why:

  • They force your ideas to be too simplistic. Life, with its range and depth and complexity, simply cannot be condensed into such pithiness. You also run the risk of causing misdirection when you oversimplify.
  • They are too linear. Step-by-step instructions seem like a good idea, but does life really have such a clear how-to manual?
  • They are overused. Look at any advice-giving blog, and count on it, you’ll find bullet points in almost every single post. Don’t you want to be original? Don’t you want to stand out?

There are many ways to get your point across, some more useful than others. It is after all, the goal of a writer to direct and nudge the reader in an intended direction. But using bullet points is a needless shortcut to quality communication, and shortcuts are almost always not the right way to go. So take my advice, and avoid them in your writing.

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