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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Author: Donn King

Donn King works with people who want to forge top-notch speaking skills to increase their influence and impact so they can advance their career or business. He is associate professor of communication studies at Pellissippi State Community College in Knoxville, Tennessee, as well as a speaker and writer. His background includes ministry, newspaper, radio, small magazines and other publications, as well as co-authoring a textbook and blogging.