YouTube has quickly become the location of many of our stories in life. This compilation video of girls’ gymnastic floor routines is helping us see how our stories need proper context to be understood.
As a communicator one of the most important things you can do is ensure your audience understands the context surrounding your story. If you fail to set the context properly, the audience is disoriented and you or your message look out of place.
Here are the A-E’s of elements to consider when setting context:
- Acronyms or Abbreviations – Have you made sure everyone knows what you mean when you use short hand. After all, what you mean by CYA could be different than what I mean.
- Background – does your audience understand the proper background related to your story. This helps eliminate a number of confusions because your audience understands the time and place of your story.
- Characters – Is your audience aware of who the protagonist and antagonist are? Do they know who they should root for or against?
- Difficulty – In gymnastics, the scoring system is based upon the difficulty of the routine. If your message requires a degree of expertise or concentration, let you audience know. Alerting the audience to the need to “put their thinking caps on” is helpful.
- Ending – Though I enjoyed the video, I felt like it was a bit long. I think it should have been three minutes versus five. I’ve sat in presentations where I thought we were at the end of the story, but we weren’t. Give your audience an expectation regarding the ending and live up to it.
What advice do you have regarding setting the context for your presentation?
What is the worst example you can recall of a message that lacked context?