Define Context Before Speaking or Participating
Effective workplace communication requires understanding your target audiences. The more specific that understanding is, the more likely you will succeed. The Straight Talk Model stresses the importance of defining the context for your messages, including the needs and wants of your target audiences. Many communicators use a shotgun approach, shooting in the general direction of the target and hoping to hit something. Professional, successful business communicators today must use a narrow, targeted focus-a rifle approach. This chapter discusses the steps necessary to do a thorough, indepth context analysis. Too many communicators fail to analyze the context effectively, instead giving lip service to the notion of understanding their audience. When a message is important enough to merit preparation, defining the context must precede the other steps in the communication process. Simply put, it is critical to “engage brain before putting mouth into motion.” Think carefully about the context as described in this chapter and you will greatly enhance the likelihood of communication success.