One of my friends mentioned to me about this very interesting analogy of a few current day presenters with ‘French cuisine’. He was advised by a widely traveled friend to forget about content and focus only on presentation, much like the French cuisine. While differing opinions could exist on how palatable French cuisine is, I am told that the French prefer food presented the exquisite way. According to this friend, nobody bothered about content anymore and it was all about delivery.
Such ideas could come largely due to certain instances were people fail to question the presenter and considers it as ‘Gospel’. This does not in anyway mean, that others think of you as being suave and worldly wise. On the contrary, they might probably consider it not worth their time to expend energy on correcting you or giving an alternate point of view.
Which brings us to the all important question of this post, ‘Content or presentation- Which is more important?’ All of us have had those boring sessions in school or college where we were busy passing chits around while the more courageous ones were moving from deep sleep to the next level called ‘Thuriya’. However, if you ponder about it more closely, you will remember that rare breed of teachers who always used to regale you in class with ‘infotainment’. You never had a dull moment in those sessions and even looked forward to it. Teachers and Professors, I’m sure, have no dearth of content. It’s the presentation that mattered. Those well attended sessions had teachers who were highly capable of grabbing the attention of the laziest listeners by their superior presentation skills and delivery of the content. Asking a presenter to focus only on the content quality without attention to delivery, is akin to asking somebody to fetch water from a pond without using a pitcher.
Now go back to some of the speeches made by our ‘Netas’. You would find perfect examples of repetition at its best with the same point being pushed across in 100 different ways. Here the focus is on whipping up the sentiments of common folk by sheer theatrics, sound and fury. Content is lost amidst this hullabaloo. Ditto for some trainers and self styled coaches who are immersed in their self image and delivery. Their idea is to score those brownie points with the audience by regaling them primarily with ‘Games’ and ‘Fun activities’. A positive feedback from naive learners after all wins referrals and future business. Not to speak of the ‘Happening Trainer Tag’ that many aspire to possess. When the true message/content takes a backseat in favour of overemphasis on delivery using fun ‘n games, seldom does constructive learning happen. All that they would remember was about the wonderful time they had for the training session. Great orators, be they politicians or spiritualists, combine both content and delivery in an optimal manner, never allowing one to overshadow the other. Balance is the right word and maintaining it between content and delivery is one of the several keys to a successful presentation.