In public speaking, what is more important? Content or delivery.
Some people say, it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. But isn’t content what really informs the audience? Isn’t content what the audience is really there for?
First, I mean we can all agree that public speaking skills are a basic requirement in today’s corporate world, so much so that it is placed as a necessary competency in a wide range of corporate positions for business communication purposes. However, when we start talking about content and delivery we will be opening a whole Pandora box because not everyone has the innate ability to speak effectively to an audience. In fact, research shows that public speaking is the single most difficult hurdle in professionals’ lives, but we can unravel this and see which one is far too risky a challenge, I mean there has to be that which has a slight edge, right?
Scenario 1. Malala’s speech at the United Nations
Her delivery was very weak. Zero facial expressions, zero gestures, absolutely nothing, but her audience was greatly moved by what she said (content). In fact, she goes down in history as one of the women with the most powerful words.
Scenario 2. Donald Trump
If you were following USA’s political game in 2020, Trump was considered a terrible speaker. The media even reported that he said absolutely nothing! But he was able to present his speeches in a way that connected him to his core audience and delivered vivid messages that even his opponents repeated in their speeches.
Scenario 3. Now, look at these speeches;
a) Martin Luther King Jr – I have a dream
b) Barack Obama – Yes we can
c) Nelson Mandela – I am prepared to die
d) Winston Churchill – Finest hour
e) Michelle Obama – Let girls learn
These great individuals balanced both content and delivery and proved that spoken words can be more powerful than anything in the hands of the right speaker. They were able to appeal to their audiences and got their messages across more succinctly, therefore showing how content plus delivery is indeed a marriage of equals, and it works perfectly.
However, all these are my opinions and not facts. If we all get the answer to the question below, then we’ll know for sure what is more important.
Which came first, the chicken or the egg?
Written by; Kathleen Mureithi