Ask HR: At work, which is more important, content or how that content is delivered?

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What you need to know:

  • What elicited the concern about presentations? Does your CEO take the view that her team is not making satisfactory presentations?


  • What mode of presentation was she referring to? There are various forms of presentations. Is her concern about power point presentations?


  • Is it the way they are prepared, how they look or how they are delivered?

Our CEO spoke to senior managers last week encouraging us to learn how to make better presentations. From what she was saying it sounded as if that content is not as important as its delivery. Should content not be more important than a show?

You have probably been party to many presentations in your life, both formal and informal. Although you might have drawn useful lessons from them all, it is likely that you enjoyed some and barely endured others. Some have probably been more memorable than others, either because of their substance or the way they were delivered. The question you have posed could tempt one to pit the substance of a presentation against its delivery, yet these two are complementary, not mutually exclusive components. 

What elicited the concern about presentations? Does your CEO take the view that her team is not making satisfactory presentations? What mode of presentation was she referring to? There are various forms of presentations. Is her concern about power point presentations? Is it the way they are prepared, how they look or how they are delivered? Do you notice any differences between how you make your presentations and how your CEO does it? What stands out for you? Can you recall an impressive presentation that still lingers in your mind? What was outstanding about it? If you could make two improvements to your presentations, what aspects would you focus on?

In a presentation, the substance and the show go hand in hand. You neither want to have very useful material poorly presented, nor fluff delivered impressively. Perhaps your CEO intended to highlight the importance of presentation skills since they have the capacity to bring the material of a presentation alive for its audience. Yes, the content comes first but its impact could easily be undermined by poor or lacklustre delivery. Why should your organisation’s clients reject an exceptional product offering based on the way it is packaged? Why should your project be shot down at the meeting because you poorly put it across? Why should you fail an interview based on how you showed up for a job that you are otherwise qualified for? The accompaniment of good presentation skills nearly always enhances the impact of a message.

HR Practitioner                                                                                                                                       [email protected]
 

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