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Context…

July 16, 2013

Perhaps my favorite thought on communication can be summarized in one word – Context. I think of context like setting the table for dinner. It makes for a much better dinner. So many people dive right into the meal (conversation) without even telling their audience (individual or group) what or why, and base their presentations or meetings on too many assumptions. Context is key. My communication thesis is “Assumptions Kill.”

Here are a few keys to maximize your communication effectiveness in meetings or presentations:

  1. Do not assume your audience knows exactly what you are talking about (either the subject or the history).
  2. Make sure they understand the purpose and your goals for the discussion and/or conversation upfront. Explain in one or two quick statements very concisely, both the “what” and the “why.”
  3. Do not assume the audience or manager or receiver has the same outcome for the conversation as you.

These are simple preparatory mental cues to make sure all parties walk away and say “that was a good meeting (or presentation).” If context for the conversation or discussion is mutually known, then great understanding or decisions will result. Simple. Set the table with context.

 

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