What is a presentation? We broadly define a presentation as an opportunity to convince an audience of an idea, concept or product. What size constitutes an audience? An audience can be anything from one to an infinite number of people. So, can an audience be one person? Yes it most certainly can. One uses different techniques to present one-on-one, one on two, one on many or two or a team on all of the above. So to mistakenly think that presentation skills apply only to one on many presentations is to misunderstand what a presentation really is.
It is also ridiculous to assume today that there is a specific method and flow to be used for all presentations. A sales presentation involving a new revolutionary product may have a beginning, middle and end format, but the end may involve a call for action or, depending upon the objective of the presentation, may be a request to commence on a path of considering an alternative viewpoint. For instance if your are anti-culling, a conservation project may want to convince you of the benefits to the environment of culling in a scientific and humane manner in order to preserve the environment. Your reaction to the presentation may not be immediate action, but may cause you to begin investigating the merits of a point of view that you may not previously have entertained.
The very first question you ask yourself, even before considering your audience size, is what am I trying to achieve? For many young men the most important presentation he will ever do is to his girlfriend’s Father when he asks for her hand in marriage. How important it is for him to get that presentation right, but also to ensure that his conduct leading up to the presentation was commensurate with a successful outcome!
Today the person lacking in the ability to present effectively starts out at a spectacular disadvantage. In the modern world these skills have become a pre-requisite to success in more ways than we often realise.