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Change Your Context, Change Your Results

The context in which an idea, thought, sales pitch or even piece of music is received has a great deal to do with the value or importance we place on it.

For example, one of the greatest benefits of being able to call yourself an author is, in that context, people trust you must know what you are talking about and they are willing to pay more to gain access to it. Of course, there may be no truth this idea at all, but perception makes it so.

By now you’ve probably encountered the Washington Post experiment that involved master violinist Joshua Bell playing in a subway.

On a cold January morning a hidden video camera captured thousands walking by hardly noticing the difference between Bell’s virtuosity and that of an everyday subway musician.

Just days before, and again a few after this 2007 experiment, Bell performed to sold out theaters, filled with expensive ticket holders and receiving numerous standing ovations.

In this incongruous context, ordinary people did not recognize his genius.

The point I’m trying to make today is that while your genius or point of view may be important, the context in which your ideas, introductions, pitches and education is delivered is equally or, sometimes, more important.

You’ve likely attended a conference where someone with an important sounding title was asked to speak and everyone in attendance claimed the talk he gave was shear brilliance. Only, you know that you’ve made many of those same points dozens of times in blog posts read by few.

Change your context, change your results.

  • Get yourself invited to speak in front of audiences instead of simply attending
  • Earn the trust to be introduced to referral prospects instead of simply given leads
  • Interview industry luminaries instead of simply downloading podcasts
  • Ask what you can give your clients instead of what they can give you
  • Form and lead an industry group instead of mindlessly joining every one you find
  • Make your educational sales pitch to a packed room instead of cold calling
  • Build a strategic partner network instead of waiting around to be asked to partner
  • Write for respected industry publications instead of just putting them in your RSS reader
  • Take your most important contributions and write a book instead of cursing successful authors that aren’t as smart as you.

When you change the context of any form of communication you change the way it’s heard, received and perceived and that’s how you much your genius far more profitable.

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