Does Delivery Really Matter?

Imagine facing a room full of skittish investors and analysts to present your company’s management plan for the next quarter. Talk about high stakes and high stress.

That was the exact scenario recently faced by a client company when they brought me in to rehearse with them the day before the presentation.  However, in this type of meeting — one that’s likely to be packed with detailed data and statistics — it’s likely that audience members will be focused on notetaking or reviewing handouts rather than keeping their eyes on the presenters.

In situations like these, it’s natural for the presenter(s) to wonder: does my delivery style matter? It’s like the old riddle about the tree falling in the forest.  Just like that tree makes a noise regardless of who’s around to hear it, the fact is that delivery always matters.

Delivery: A multi-sensory experience

Successful delivery hinges on much more than just a speaker’s appearance. Other components of delivery include:

  • Tone of voice
  • Overall demeanor
  • Ability to stay engaged and interact with the audience and/or fellow panelists

Once you’ve clarified and developed your message, how you deliver it is the true litmus test — that what you’re saying is supported by how you say it.

Whether or not an audience will have their eyes glued to your every move, you still need to bring your “A” game to each and every event. In the investor meeting described above, attendees might not be watching 100% of the time, but they were certainly listening — and evaluating whether the presenters believed in their message and, in turn, if the company was in capable hands. A great delivery can transfer that level of confidence to the audience.

So, in the case of my client’s investor meeting, did delivery matter after all? Here are some clues that suggested how important the delivery was:

  • The large group of analysts in attendance seemed in no hurry to leave.
  • Attendees engaged the presenters in conversation long after the formal program was over.
  • Many requested more information and thanked the speakers for the data they shared.

Honing your own delivery skills

Clearly, delivery is as important as the content of your message. Here are some delivery takeaways from the investor meeting that contributed to the presenters’ success:

  • They did their homework. These speakers understood the audience’s concerns and developed their message accordingly.
  • They clarified their message. Though the message might not be good news, the speakers were able to explain it succinctly and offer clear supporting data.
  • They spoke from a position of strength. All presenters sounded self-assured without appearing arrogant, they were credible and undoubtedly passionate about their business.

By combining a clear message with an engaging delivery, especially in high-stress situations, you’ll not only demonstrate your confidence and commitment to what you’re saying, but also know that even when your audience might not be watching, your message is resonating loud and clear.

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