Framing your message helps your audience make sense of your information
While at my doctor’s office not long ago, I started thinking about a vital aspect of developing communications: context.
Dictionary.com defines “context” as the parts of a written or spoken statement that precede or follow a specific word or passage, usually influencing its meaning or effect; the set of circumstances or facts that surround a particular event, situation, etc. The Latin offers a great visual—to contex(ere) is to join by weaving.
Some of our internal clients may consider that our role in communications is one of employee marketing, developing clever ad campaigns for business initiatives. Employees might see us as the management mouthpiece, repeating the platitude of the quarter. Others think of us as the archivist, providing a portal to all the PR and awards and white papers the business has generated.
But our roles become the most valuable when we take the information given to us and build upon it by adding context.
I mentioned a doctor. Earlier this year I spent three days in the hospital because invisible hands were attempting to wrench my left leg from my hip. I am fond of my left leg, so I went through a battery of tests, with one test indicating a possible bone lesion.