In our PCATS course, we encourage presenters to use graphics whenever possible to illustrate points, display data, and draw the audience’s attention to specific parts of a slide. Repeatedly creating such graphic-intensive presentations can be time consuming. However, you can spare yourself some of the misery by not duplicating efforts across presentations.
We have found that we tend to use the same set of graphical elements in many of our slides—especially elements that draw attention to certain parts of a slide using circles, boxes, or highlights. To save time for future presentations, after you have created such an element, copy it and paste it into a new presentation that you call your “Presentation Palette” (or whatever name you like). Over time, you can accumulate more and more graphic elements on this Presentation Palette. Whenever you begin a new presentation, have your Presentation Palette file open so that you can easily copy and paste frequently used graphic elements from your Presentation Palette into your new presentation.
Shown here is a screen capture from Kevin’s version of a Presentation Palette (named “My Keynote Elements”). Note that Kevin likes using two or more joined arrows to display multiple points instead of bullets (a trick he learned from his Duke colleague, Ruth Day, PhD). Creating joined arrows from scratch requires 6 steps, and so having a basic 2-arrow graphic element that can be quickly pasted and modified has freed up lots of time for Kevin—time that he can now spend learning sweet new guitar riffs, or even interacting with his family.