Many people ask me, ‘To Perform or Present, What’s the Difference?
I usually answer, (annoyingly) with a question. ‘What do you do? Present or perform? What do you like to see, presentations or performances?’
And in many ways, it is a personal choice. However, if you peel away the layers and re-search again, usually something fresh appears!
The dictionaries explain that to present is to give an award formally or ceremonially. To perform is to do an action or a piece of work. So, to present is to host or introduce, compere or emcee. Then, to perform is to begin and carry through to completion an action.
Now, let’s add some real-life colour and juice up that dry mix. From my point of view, it starts with a thought or an idea. Then, it moves to the written form, to be shaped and sculpted, edited and analysed. The next step is to rehearse or practise. As somebody said:
– Practise like you’ve never won. Perform like you’ve never lost – Anon.
During this transformation from written to spoken word, a colloquial magic happens. Life enters your vocabulary.
Verve slips into your verbs. Sparkle and zing into your nouns. This is the section where your message has the opportunity to impact, motivate and empower your listener. (That could be one person, like your boss, or a paying audience of hundreds) The final step is to stand in front of your public and share your words.
I believe that every time we write, rehearse and step up and speak out.….we are performing.
That performance could be sad or comic, heartfelt or passionate, enlightening or educational…but it is, at it’s core, a performance. We want it to be engaging and authentic. We want to empower and excel, but these are all the adjectives that describe a performance.
There are people that associate presentations with power point, with Prezi, these tend to be more formal, more corporate or academic…but please do not quote me on that…it is just my observation!
There is an area of overlap, where presenting and performing serve each other. Creating an interlace between presenting and performing requires you to understand and know your audience, to use a clear language style and even to consider cultural differences.
A surgeon performs an operation. A person presents a TV show or an awards ceremony and, a lawyer presents a case. This is where a Fusion of styles enters….stage right, from behind the curtain with vitality.
-An ounce of performance is worth pounds of promises – Mae West
What is key to your performance or presentation is that you engage with your audience. If you enlighten and energise …you gain more kudos! If you then empower and excel…your listeners will admire you and then, do you really care what they call your offering?
Step Up & Stand Out encourages excellence and never forgets a touch of humour.
I’m on performance enhancing drugs, so I may cause drowsiness. – Jay London –