Thursday, August 16, 2018

Framing and Context


I have been working on a Ted Talk about framing and context.  So much of the information that we receive has been framed to the context in which the speaker intends.  Gone are the days of true fact reporting.  The news now is always slanted to the left or right depending on what station you watch.  Our social media uses echo chambers to deliver information based on what we have liked or seen before.  No matter which political party you follow, there is a steady stream of information to bolster the belief of divisive issues.

For instance, I watched a report on Fox News recently that stated the left was trying to remove the word “man” from our vocabulary.  Would they force Manchester or Goldman Sachs to change their names?  I thought, that can’t be true.  I did my own research and found the report they were referencing.  It was a study out of a college that stated you should try to not use man-made or man-days and offered alternatives.  Whether you think that is a good idea or not, they certainly were not doing what Fox News had said.  The same can be said of many reports regardless of what network.  It made me reflect on what I had just done.  How many people sought out the truth to form their own opinion versus believing what the broadcaster had said.  I found the election coverage comical on both sides as pundits would ask, “Why do you want to vote for this person?”  The responses were the steady stream of talking points provided.  When really pressed, the person could not come up with a personal reason.

I read something in the USA Today yesterday that hit me squarely.  There has been a recent feud between what one person said over the other.  Penn Jilette, a famous magician, had announced that he was in the room for some of those moments.  When the reporter asked him what was said in the room, Jilette responded, “..the stakes are now high, and I am an unreliable narrator.  I’m a storyteller and storytellers are liars.  So I can emotionally tell you things that happened….that showed stupidity and lack of compassion when I was in the room…and I guarantee you that I will get the details wrong.”

I felt that it was a profound statement of responsibility and leadership.  He knew personally of details but didn’t feel comfortable releasing them because he knew it would be slanted and possibly misleading.  In this day and age of jumping to conclusions, social justice determining fate before all of the facts are known, and the emerging new society we live in, that was one of the best statements I had read.

Internalize this to your team, project, and organization.  How often do we express ideas and thoughts that are slanted to the context of what we feel?  John Maxwell said, “do I want the opportunity to correct someone, or the opportunity to connect with someone.”  I teach my kids that every interaction is a transaction and someone is buying.  What I mean by that is that your either giving value or receiving value in the interaction.  Make sure to add value to the person you are talking to.

All of this is to say, words matter.  Opinions matter.  You can either divide or heal.  I appreciate Mr. Jiette’s answer because he knew the responsibility of words.

1 comment:

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