Lately I have been thinking about the idea of context. So often we are only given a morsel of information, and it does not give the full picture. If we were given the full context of a situation, we might respond differently. Have you ever thought about it?
When you answer a question your child asks, do you answer it entirely, go the easy route, or give them the full context they need to ensure understanding? At work, when training a colleague, do you tell them just the details they need to know, or do you share the full context of why you have trained them a specific way? Might the entire picture help the training stick? It could allow them to fully understand why taking specific steps is so important. Does it help your spouse if you share the full story of why you might need them to run a few errands, or do you just ask that they go and do them?
Context tells the story. It weaves background information, and often gives the “why.” As I have been pondering context in my daily life, I have been trying to think about the full picture and when it is the right time to include context in a conversation. If you are giving a presentation on a topic you have been involved in for quite a few months, do you go to the nitty-gritty detail, or do you take a step back and give an overview first, make sure everyone listening to your presentation is on the same page, and then proceed with more specific detail? Does that help others to understand the full scope?
It helps. It really does. I am trying to approach each day ensuring that I give just the right amount of context (not too much, and not too little). My hope is that by sharing the necessary information, it will mean that others can make more educated decisions. Context shows that we are not just making decisions on a whim, but that there is a story that is directing us.
What do you think?