Context is King

Frequently, conversations leave us feeling more confused than clear, more upset than at ease, and more frustrated with the other person. 

Why is this? Too often we simply don’t know where the other person’s coming from on certain topics of conversation. 

Maybe they don’t understand where our sudden burst of conviction and passion is coming from on those exact same topics. Perhaps it doesn’t seem relevant to them. They and we, far too often, just don’t know why.  

So, why not tell them?  

Give people the why’s for your passion. Give them the context, the reason, the back-story, and the challenges. Give them the CONTEXT of the situation. 

The opportunity lies in not only providing the context, but when the situation is reversed, ASKING FOR the context.  

It’s easy to preach, pontificate, and dictate your thoughts and convictions. That’s what everyone usually does; which generally turns off most people: 

  • On the other end of the phone,  
  • In the other department, or,  
  • Those with a completely opposite point of view. 

As a result, relationships go nowhere fast. 

On the other hand, when you pause, take a deep breath, and ask for more context, great progress happens. If and when you not only ask, but listen to their reply as well, that’s when understanding begins. That’s also when they begin feeling more comfortable with you. 

That comfort level gradually leads to TRUST, and trust is the only thing that leads to thriving, productive relationships. 

The challenge of taking the time to discover another person’s perspective and their “why” is usually rooted in an inability to communicate effectively. 

The missing link is often context. 

Context is king. Provide it and ask for it. 

Have a great day.

PS – Pre-order my next book, Lead with Hospitality here. Release date is April 27th, 2021.

I’ve compiled twenty years’ worth of leadership lessons, stories, and applications for how to lead with hospitality and why it makes a difference that matters for everyone in your life, at work, at home, and in your community.

PPS – This is an excerpt from my first book, Ballgames to Boardrooms, chapter 15, “Conversations Make Good Company”.