Does matter matter????

Does matter matter? 

Does a football matter in a game of football?

If you have some nice jerseys, your club has a lush green field laid out for you, the cheerleaders are all raring to go, and the audience has filled the stadium and is screaming out for you to go and dazzle them with your footwork BUT you forgot to get the football. Would there be a match???

In the increasingly form driven world, it is often content that does not seem to matter for a whole lot of people and, “I want to be a speaker,” comes much before, ”I have something to say”. They forget that if you don’t have a ball, you just can’t play football.

Content was, is and will always be the king. Form is just a way of embellishing it, making it interesting and creating an impact with it. Neither can exist without the other and just as matter without the proper presentation will not make an impact, a great way of presentation without matter is hollow and just cannot exist.

Yet form continues to be misunderstood. 

There is the oft-quoted Mehrabian model in which the psychologist Albert Mehrabian theorized based on his experiments that only 7% of the impact of what we say comes from the words, 38% from the vocal variation and 55% from the body language. The form over content lobby seized this by interpreting it to mean that matter does not matter at all or only matters 7% and the rest is about packaging!!!!

Does it then mean that you can go to a symposium of physicists and you will be preferred over a senior scientist presenting a paper, even if you are telling risqué jokes, if your vocal intonation and body language are right? The idiocy of the argument gets exposed here itself!

What the Mehrabian is talking about, as it means to us is , that given content, the impact of the same is effected by your language, vocal variation, and body language.  What the impact is, whether the percentages are right, is a matter of academic nitpicking but the concept is important and it only concerns itself about the impact of what you are saying.  Therefore, in case the words you are speaking clash with your body language then people will trust your body language and vocal variation more.

Manner is not a substitute for matter but merely something making the communication of the matter more effective.

A speech is like a symphony, where you have to have a score to play first ! Whether you use 16 instruments or 137 does not matter or matters only 7% of the time. The volume they play at matters a lot and the visual impact of the conductor waving the baton matters too, as does the fact that all musicians are well dressed. They all create an impact but the fact that they are playing Bach or Beethoven matters more than anything else.

The score in the speech is the content, instruments used to get the score across to us are the words and what is true of a symphony being played is true of a speech.

The presentation is vital but the content is king!




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