False dichotomy: Content vs. Delivery

Content or delivery?

I hear this argument all the time. Which is more important? Solid content? Or solid delivery?

My definitive answer: both are more important.

It’s actually a nonsensical question when we’re speaking about speaking. Just this week I coached a student who had solid content (I think) delivered in a flat monotone with no eye contact. As I looked around at the audience, I saw people tuned out, checking cell phones, etc. In fact, I have to say “I think” because the delivery made it really hard to evaluate the content! It turned into something resembling the adults in the Charlie Brown specials.

At the same time, good delivery with mediocre content just wastes time. Audience may feel energized in the moment, but will feel empty later.

An attractive package gets people to open the box. You’d better make sure they’re not disappointed when they do.

May the Great Pumpkin sharpen your ideas and your presentation skills!

What’s your experience? Have you ever missed out on good information because it was poorly delivered? Or been entranced by good delivery only to realize you were listening to the wind whistle?

photo by: lisaclarke
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1 Comment

  1. LaurenHug

    Exactly, Donn! They are both incredibly important. However, I feel there is far more emphasis placed on delivery skills than on quality content in our society. Because of this, I find myself focusing more on messaging and authenticity with my clients. Basic presentation skills are generally easy to develop when a speaker understands, owns, and lives his or her content.

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