How Do You Communicate Your Ideas? (4) Know Your Context

The contexts for presentations or speech-making vary widely in the new age of telecommunication technologies, that it is imperative that any prospective speaker becomes familiar with the context(s) of the presentation. It is not unlikely that one who delivers a power-point presentation remotely would not have the advantage of immediate feedback and all the nuances of body language, a shifting on the seat, an adjustment of one’s tie or blouse, eye gazes, a sudden cough, or other nonverbal and nonvocal cues.

Context is sometimes defined as the occasion, the situation, the venue, the place, the environment, or even the climate. For me, meaning-making, meaning-sharing, and meaning-creating occur everywhere there are humans.

I take the position that context is any place where there is the sharing of meaning. That includes everywhere, because one cannot not communicate.

Communication is an unending processes and is an ongoing, irreversible, and dynamic activity. It occurs in multi-complex and multi levels, between humans, and between humans and non-humans, as in when one “communicates” with one’s pet(s).

Communication is everywhere. One is always ‘on-camera’ in the world of sending messages and attempting to share ideas.

In the age of telecommunications, with computers, androids, cell phones, IPads, IPods, and phones with cameras, everywhere, one cannot hide from sending and/or receiving messages of one kind or the other.

But in the case of an ideapreneur or any other formal speaking act, the context is defined as the specific space and location where the sending of messages occur.

In these days and age, context would simply mean, where, when, why, and how, is the speaking engagement.

Meaning Is In The Context

In the specific and particular communication events and acts, the location or situation where the exchanges take place determines and can influence the meaning. A message relayed in the boardroom will mean differently if and when the same message is spoken in the bedroom, or in the courtroom. For example, the husband and wife duo who work together in the same family business in the comforts of their home-based business office can afford to say, “Honey, I love what you did today.” That same message delivered in late evening after dinner could signal an invitation to sexual act in the bedroom, in appreciation of the toils of the entire workday together.

One could infer a variety of meanings to that same statement depending on the moods in the family at the time it was spoken, the proximity of the couple to one another, the lighting in the place the message was sent, the tone of voice, the body language, the eye contact, and several other variables that the context imposes.

Time is a critical element in context. An effective speaker-communicator is one who observes the time of delivery and adheres to time limitations.

Do not go over the time allotted for your presentation/delivery.

If you exceed the allotted time, the audience may walk-out on you. Or. the audience members may start to be fidgety and inattentive.

A well-lit room offers great settings for the speaker-audience attention gaining and attention receiving dimensions to the speaking situation.

As a speaker, if you can afford the time and pre-speech delivery vetting of the location, do so, to ensure the lighting are functioning; that the public address systems are in their place; that the computer terminal is hooked up properly; and there are the overhead projections, or any of the other audio-visual and telecommunication equipment are in place, to safeguard against any sudden malfunctions and surprises.

Meaning Is In the Receiver

Here the receiver constitutes that audience I have been referencing in my postings.

The receiver as the audience is that individual or groups of persons that would interpret the content of the message according to their own expectations.

Their expectations are informed by their values, beliefs, attitudes, and purposes for exposing themselves to the messages.

The receiver decides on the meaning.

The receiver can feign understanding; as well as feign ignorance to your very well-crafted and soundly delivered messages. And then there will be no communication, but merely a sending and receiving of messages with unintended consequences to you the sender.

Be sensitive and adjust your presentations accordingly to accommodate diversity in the context of meaning-making and meaning -sharing.

In Sum

You are in a great position to communicate your ideas if you know the situation, place, context, environment, and climate of your presentation and make instant adjustments to meet the expectations of the audience. Remember the audience can make a friendly environment to an unfriendly and hostile one, to your most-prepared content or topic.

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