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Using Parallel Structures in Lists

Developing presentations is easier if a set of best-practice guidelines is used to govern the processes. This best practice provides guidance for creating cohesive lists by using parallel structure.

Guideline: express parallel ideas in parallel form.

The two lists below show the contrast between a poorly constructed list and a correctly constructed list.

Poor way to construct a list

PowerFrameworks helps companies raise presentation quality. This presentation will identify:

  • How to find the improvement opportunities
  • Common pitfalls when developing messages
  • What the presenter needs to do in addition to delivering messages.

Better way to construct a list

PowerFrameworks helps companies raise presentation quality by teaching their presenters how to:

  • Identify improvement opportunities
  • Avoid common message-development pitfalls
  • Expand the role of a presenter.

The bulleted text above is parallel: each bullet begins with a verb and is action oriented.

As you develop lists in presentations, make sure that the list items are parallel. All list items should be the same type of sentence, e.g.:

  • Imperative
  • Interrogative
  • Declarative
  • Fragment that completes the lead-in sentence.
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