Do any of you remember Season 8 Episode 1 of The Cosby Show when Vanessa brings her fiancé Dabnis to dinner? Remember Cliff’s explanation of how Vanessa’s introducing of Dabnis was received by the family? In a nutshell, at the end of his commentary (that included a metaphor about a savory meat and potatoes meal served on a garbage can lid), he tells Vanessa that’s how she presented Dabnis to the family, on a garbage can lid. Why do I bring this up? Well, Cliff’s words ring true when we are introducing, presenting, offering or recommending something to other people – whether it’s clients, coworkers, friends, or family members.
Communicating is a delicate dance of giving and receiving; and, presentation, is a persuasive construct of beliefs, ideas and information. Now, when we forego conventional wisdom and forget to take the other party’s background and feelings into consideration, just to get our point across or assert our own rightness or freedom, we can miss a valuable opportunity. The opportunity to get the other person on our side, to get them to agree with us, or at the very least, to not oppose our position (to stay neutral). You’ve heard the saying, “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it,” right? Well, the how involves your presentation, your delivery. Tell me something devastating or uncomfortable that I may need to hear, but flavor it with some form of polite social behavior and corresponding words and you’ve got me; I’m all in. Do the opposite and you’ve lost me.
Something else I’ve noticed more and more, as of late, is the increased use of curse words. Now, there’s no doubt about it that curse words give a certain saltiness, a certain flavor to one’s message and it provides emphasis (which we know, is quite often done by design). But, are we limiting ourselves by using them? Are we presenting our message on that garbage can lid? Definitely something to think about!
What do you think? Does presentation matter? Or, should people only focus on the message, irrespective of how the message is delivered? We’d love to hear your thoughts; so, leave a comment.
(Note: Questioning the use of curse words is in no way being judgmental. The inquiry is merely to get folks thinking about whether or not there’s a better way to drive one’s point home. Remember, it’s all in the presentation!)