For the sake of every given discussion, introduced and established context is rarely (if ever at all) doubted. In other words, if you introduce that, for the time of debate, cows are purple, then that is the reality. The more your introduction will be contextual (in opposition to formal, plain statement) the more you can get away with.
How purple cows can benefit us?
This notion is one of the greats if you care about social skills. Skill in establishing beneficial contexts is used wildly in debates and negotiations, arguments between spouses, even in tutoring kids. I use it in work with image management, networking, public speeches, and what we can broadly call – generating attraction. My advice to you is: Do it as well.
How’s, what’s and when’s
If there is a situation of communication happening, there always is a context. Established consciously or not – it works behind the scenes on how content of your words will be understood and judged. Even in such remote situations as you reading this post. It is then better to have control over it, even better – to establish it personally and deliberately.
Know what you want to establish. Maybe you want to make yourself more attractive? Maybe you want to set the frame of the meeting (for instance friendly frame for otherwise tough negotiations)? Maybe you want to establish having the upper hand in given situation, or guilt the other side to sympathize with your goals?
Establishing context is great opportunity to say things that brought directly would be taken as boasting or bragging. “Treat me well, because I worked with great minds and great firms of Fortune 500” – that sounds awful. But… Set the context in ice breaking small talk, maybe about “Hey, I hope you didn’t try and drink the tap water on airplane on way here… That’s weird thing to do, but we were catching a plane form (whatever Fortune 500 you’ve worked with) and they told us how it could end… By the way, coffee, tea, soft drinks?” There is always room for “by the way” in small talk.
In other words – establishing the context allows you to make the main point for the other side to remember as not the main point of your statement. It is then free of conflict control of their rational mind. The more it sounds as information relevant just because of context creation the less it will be “controlled”.
Your higher value established without being perceived as arrogant
We all have traits, skills and experiences that we would like to be known of. That could act as beneficial prisms for our perceived image or frame of the situation. Also, sadly, we have some things we would want to hide. In day to day life we push both into direct content and into subtle context of our communication.
We can push our great attributes into context, and try to withdraw all the negatives from both. We can ease other into understanding us correctly. Context can make or break our beautiful content.
Context in bullet points:
- Established context behaves like background – it is reality of given discussion
- Context is always there. It is beneficial to create it deliberately, not to accept what is given
- Start establishing your context and frame of situation as soon as you can
- Push what would normally be seen as bragging into a context of something else
- Find a frame of situation that is beneficial for both sides but more beneficial for you and establish it
- Once accepted won't be doubted
- You can and should adduce on established context to further it’s relevance
- Always be the one to establish it, and be aware of folding into non-beneficial frame. Restate and reestablish if necessary
- Props, places and posture also add to context, use them wisely