In so much of life, size matters. In presentations, size matters a lot. Size affects the nature and construction of a presentation, its delivery and reception.
Size matters in the initial planning of presentation. It is essential to understand the size of the audience and also the space in which the presentation will be delivered. A small group will respond differently to a massive audience and whilst interaction with the former is straightforward, the latter will pose different challenges. This must be addressed early in the planning.
Time is not a size but neither is it flexible. Size matters when planning a presentation. Too many speakers over run due to poor construction of a presentation and lack of practise. It is best to trim a presentation to 80% of allocated time. This focuses the speaker, distils the message and allows flexibility when other speakers misuse their time slot.
Size matters in the supportive media of a presentation. Remember that what may looks good on the screen of a laptop when viewed from close up will definitely not be the same projected in an auditorium. Never use font below size 40; it simply will not be legible at the back of the hall. Images too must be single, high quality and fill the screen. Data slides must not contain complexity that require interrogation; they must be constructed (not copied from the document) to be instantly comprehensible.
In delivery of a presentation, size matters. A massive auditorium can be confronting. Arrive early, take an opportunity to stand on the stage during a break and feel more comfortable with the space. Voice projection or amplification may be required. Remember that individual audience members are watching a show, not interacting with the speaker and as such their facial expressions can be confusing. Movement on stage also needs to more pronounced in a large space. Conversely some conferences will use video technology and project a close up view of presenters alongside the supportive media.
Size matters in presentations. Construct a presentation understanding the size of the audience, the relative projection of supportive media and the space within which the presentation is to be delivered. One size does not fit all.