It was a chilly day during the winters of 2011 (when I was in school) and the students were asked to gather in the school’s auditorium hall for a speech. An honourable state minister had come to the school to deliver a speech on “Freedom of Speech”. It went off really well as the style of the speaker kept the students engaged throughout. Later, they went to their respective classes satisfied. But, it was during the later part of the day I realised that the speaker had not said much. It was his way of oration that interested the students. It was then the question arose in my mind “Is presentation more important than content?”
This is one question that has concerned many professionals for a very long time now. Often, it has held them apart due to the varied opinions and thoughts that come its way. Some believe that presentation is more important than content. According to them, they know how a certain action or a behaviour might be perceived by the viewers. But the believers of the other side say the vice versa because according to them, the content is something that informs the listeners.
According to me, both arguments are correct on their part, but I believe both content and presentation are the two pillars of the same building. They cannot replace each other. On the contrary, they are complementary. I had read it somewhere that they both are like car and fuel. Think of the “presentation” part as a car and the “content” part as the fuel. Just like the car cannot go without fuel too far and the fuel itself cannot go anywhere without being used in the car, it’s the same case with a presentation also. While many presenters believe that delivery is important, one should never neglect how much your audience is going to learn from your speech. You may have the most interesting topic of all time, but an uninteresting speech will bore your audience. On the other hand, an entertaining presentation style may keep your audience enthralled, without content your audience won’t take anything from you back home.
This only proves that both are the important pillars and we cannot prefer one over another. The former will educate your listeners, the latter one will highlight your message and help it go a long way.
-by Abhishek Saluja