Context is King


Over our last several posts, we have been touching on a few of the important ingredients for great communication… clarity and brevity chief among them.

Today we touch on a third critical ingredient: context. Context is critical. Context creates relevance. Context helps your audience engage and listen. Context helps your audience care.

We are all time starved. We are all attention deprived. And much of the time, when we walk into meetings or presentations or join conference calls, we arrive with lots of other things on our mind. We all do this, myself included. Often it will take several minutes for us to even begin to listen, to even begin to engage. And by then, it may be too late.

Unless, our meeting, presentation or conference call is being led by someone who knows what they are doing…

When the speaker opens with context and relevance, it helps the audience start listening and engage more quickly. It helps the listener become present in the room. And it helps everyone in the room, whether they arrived distracted or not, understand the topic and purpose of the meeting or call.

Start your calls, presentations or meetings with context… Here is what we are talking about today, and here is why it is important/relevant/valuable for you/us/our customers…

Avoid the mistake of skipping context. Avoid the flawed assumption that the audience does not need context because they are already familiar with the topic. Avoid the mistake of diving straight into the detail.

Ease your way into the pool, so to speak. Get everyone level set with context. It doesn’t have to take long. In many cases, it might only take a minute or two.

But that minute or two will be perhaps the most valuable minutes in your entire meeting.

Good luck!

At The Latimer Group, our individual Coaching services are highly customized and designed to help you achieve your specific goals. Typical engagements focus on developing skill sets in Leadership Communications, Public Speaking, and Executive-Level Business Presentations. To learn more, e-mail us at

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3 responses to “Context is King”

  1. […] world? Then work on telling the story in simple, valuable, audience-centric ways. Give context. Get to the point. Make them […]

  2. […] it on the agenda. You would probably provide a short executive summary. What are we talking about? Why is it important? What are you recommending? What are the benefits of the recommendation? What are you asking for? […]

  3. […] spending the first 60-90 seconds of the time. Is it interesting? Do you get to the point? Do you create context and relevance? Do you tell them where the presentation is […]

Dean Brenner

A book about change

The Latimer Group’s CEO Dean Brenner is a noted keynote speaker and author on the subject of persuasive communication. He has written three books, including Persuaded, in which he details how communication can transform organizations into highly effective, creative, transparent environments that succeed at every level.